Chorley boss Matt Jansen has urged his players to step up and fill the void after striker Josh Hine’s shock departure.
Hine joined NPL Premier Division side Salford City on Tuesday for an undisclosed fee.
His swift exit – coupled with striker James Dean being sidelined for five to six weeks due to an ankle injury – leaves Jansen’s attack depleted for Saturday’s trip at Alfreton Town.
Jansen says he is looking to replace top scorer Hine but called on his players not to let the move distract them from their National League North campaign.
He said: “Josh leaves a big void. It is up to someone to step up and fill the void.
“We are now looking to strengthen in that area – and other areas.
“Jordan Connerton hasn’t had much of an opportunity as a striker. Hopefully he will take his chance if he is picked on Saturday.
“We have a healthy squad and this is an opportunity for someone to make a claim - I want to win every game I go into and Saturday is no different.”
Jansen admitted that he did not want Hine to go but he wished him all the best.
He believes the presence of Salford’s part-owners – Manchester United’s Class of ’92 Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville and Phil Neville – helped persuade Hine take the step down a division to join the Ammies.
But Jansen says Chorley are also an ambitious club and that his aim is to get the Magpies into the National League – and beyond.
He said: “To be honest I did not want to see Josh go. He has been brilliant for the last few seasons.
“He made it clear he would like to go to Salford.
“They have got a lot of media attention with the Class of ’92 association. All I can do is wish him all the best…I didn’t want to see him go.
“Salford are going places, they are spending a lot of money, but I am ambitious too and Chorley are ambitious.
“I want to get Chorley promoted to the next level and beyond.
“Only time will tell whether Josh has made the right decision.
“It all started a few weeks ago. They put an offer in, we refused it, they put another offer in, we refused it. Then we assessed what was best for Chorley.
“It is not really about the money – he chose to go but we had to get the right deal to allow him to leave.”
Captain Andy Teague believes Hine, who scored twice in the Magpies’ last game – the 3-0 victory over Corby Town – could have made the leap to a higher division or even a Football League club.
But he says that the departure will not affect how ninth-placed Chorley approach the game at 13th-placed Town.
He said: “It won’t impact our preparations for Saturday.
“It happens everywhere, players come and go – it is a big loss but it gives someone else an opportunity.”
One player who is staying at Victory Park is midfielder Jake Cottrell.
The fans’ favourite has been the subject of a bid from a fellow National League North club earlier this week, but he has pledged his allegience to the Magpies by signing a new contract.
After arriving at Chorley in 2013 from FC United, Cottrell’s new deal ties him to the club until the end of the 2016/17 season.