NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Eynesbury Rovers manager Mark Ducket doesn’t have a ‘single bad word’ following exit of defensive star

Defender Steven Gentle has left Eynesbury Rovers.

Defender Steven Gentle has left Eynesbury Rovers. - Credit: Archant

Eynesbury manager Mark Ducket has paid tribute to departed defender Steve Gentle.

The experienced centre-back, who was a notable summer signing, made his final Rovers appearance last Saturday when they were held to a goalless United Counties League Premier Division draw by Rothwell Corinthians at Hall Road.

Gentle has joined higher-level hometown club Bedford Town and received a glowing send-off from Ducket.

“‘Gents’ spoke to me a month ago and said a move might be in the pipeline,” said Ducket.

“It’s a huge blow to lose him, but myself and ‘Gents’ go way back and I haven’t got a single bad word to say about him.

“He’s always been the first to arrive and last to leave at training, and is a terrific role model to younger players.

“He will be hugely missed and I fully understand the attraction of potentially finishing his career at his hometown club.”

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Gentle is one of five Eynesbury players to have attracted approaches from higher-level clubs in recent days.

Curtis Hartley is wanted by AFC Rushden & Diamonds, Danny Draper is a target for former club Stamford AFC, National League North side Solihull Moors are chasing Matt Miles and Aylesbury United want Matt Clifford.

Hartley, Draper and Clifford all played as Rovers were involved in just a second goalless draw of the season last Saturday.

They were twice denied by the woodwork as Hayden Bream hit a post and Robert Ducket clipped the bar.

A clean sheet for the club’s latest number one – Liam Gooch – was a positive. He has arrived on loan from Step 3 side Biggleswade Town.

Rovers go to Sleaford this Saturday when they will attempt to beat the Lincolnshire strugglers for the second time in three weeks. That is followed by a home clash against Cogenhoe on Tuesday.

And Ducket is determined to ensure Rovers record a third successive top-six finish despite a difficult campaign to date.

He admitted: “Sitting in seventh place in January is not where we wanted to be. It’s been a tough season, but one we have to work hard to finish as well as we possibly can.”

Rovers face punishment from the United Counties League for fielding Jordan Brown in a December defeat at Newport Pagnell when he was suspended.