Hitchin boss 'feels let down' after key players leave to go travelling in middle of promotion-chasing campaign

PUBLISHED: 10:11 14 January 2016 | UPDATED: 10:11 14 January 2016

Matt Lench

Matt Lench


Hitchin Town boss Mark Burke says he has been left feeling 'very disappointed' after two of his key players decided to go travelling midway through a promotion-hunting season.

Matt Lench, who has scored three goals in the Canaries’ last two matches, and Sam Barker have left for Australia with their team currently third in the Southern Premier table and in with a realistic chance of being in the promotion mix come the end of the campaign. The duo could be away for a couple of months.

It is a huge blow for Burke and his young side, who are defying all expectations, and it comes at a point in the season where Hitchin face two games per week for the next seven weeks.

“It’s very disappointing to lose them, and I’m very disappointed in them,” Burke told the Comet.

“They made a commitment to the club at the beginning of the season and now they’re leaving.

“They’ve let the club and their team-mates down.

“They’ve done well as well. Lench has reached a peak recently and has now decided to disappear. It’s a blow.”

The players gave Burke some notice of their departure so the Hitchin boss has at least been able to add a couple of bodies to his squad in the past week.

Callum Riley, a former Leicester City player in his youth, has joined the club, as has Dominic Palmiero, who joins on a work experience deal from MK Dons.

“I’ve had a hunt around. Callum’s come in and Dominic too, who we found out is available on work experience and we’ve brought him in,” Burke said.

“It’s handy to get numbers in, but I’m still looking for one or maybe two more faces.”

Burke is also keen to ensure that while his team is full of confidence at the moment, they do not get carried away with their league position when they take on relegation battlers Frome Town this Saturday.

“Confidence is riding high, and it’s just a matter of keeping a lid on it so that we don’t get complacent,” Burke said.

“Frome, it’s a slowly changing team and not the same one we beat 4-0 at their place earlier in the season. They’re in a relegation battle and are fighting for their lives.”

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