Hoppers will miss Allen says chief
Preston Grasshoppers director of rugby Gareth Dyer admits the club will miss the undoubted quality of first-team star Lewis Allen.
The 23-year-old fly-half and goalkicker has joined Rossendale after the two clubs reached an agreement this week over his transfer.
A contracted player at Lightfoot Green, the club was keen to keep hold of Allen as they look to bounce back at the first attempt after suffering relegation last season from National League One North.
The Hoppers will get their NL Two North campaign under way on Saturday with an away trip to Wakefield-based outfit Sandal.
An integral member of Hoppers’ first-team squad, Allen – who can also play at full-back – helped Lancashire win the Bill Beaumont Cup by beating Cornwall in the final at Twickeham in May.
It is understood Rossendale – who play at a level below Hoppers in the North Premier Division – have had to pay a transfer fee for the fly-half’s services.
Dyer said: “Unfortunately Lewis Allen has decided to move on to be closer to home.
“He wanted a move nearer to the east of the county and there was an opportunity for him to go to Rossendale.
“We have managed to get that sorted with Rossendale and reach an agreement which both parties are happy with.”
Allen is not the only big-name player to depart Hoppers over the summer, second-rower Will Lees has signed for Sedgley Park.
“Will wanted to stay at National North Two level,” Dyer said.
“Sedgley is closer to home for him as well so it’s a good move for him.”
Although wishing both players well with their new clubs, Dyer admits the pair would have been major players for the clubs this season if they had stayed.
“We are disappointed to lose them both because we have put in a lot of time and effort into their development,” he said.
“They came in as young players and we gave them opportunities to develop both as players and people.
“They were very much part of a group of players at the club who were young in years, but had picked up 70 or 80 appearances at first-team level.”
Despite the loss of the duo, as well as Rob Bramhall – who has joined Blackburn – the Hoppers have been extremely busy bringing players in.
New head coach Paul Arnold has been keen to add a mixture of youth and experience to his squad.
Front rower Ryan Purcell and exciting scrum-half Jake Squirrel have joined the club this week and they will complement a raft of other new signings which include James Fitzpatrick, Ollie Trippier, Matthew Lamprey, Sam Stott, Connor Johnson and new captain Paul Millea.