CLEE Hill United manager Wayne Whitbread is excited about next season – but knows he will be missing three important players.

Tom Evans, who has just scooped the club’s players’ player of the year honour, is among three lads who will not be available for many Hill matches next term.

Matt Walford will be going to university and Jack Seymour has left the area.

“Matt Walford is off to university and Tom Evans is off on a placement for 12 months in Oxfordshire,” said Whitbread.

“Tom has been at Harper Adams College in Shropshire and he is going into farming and he will be missing matches next season. Jack Seymour has left the area and gone to London for work.

“This is what can happen when you live in a rural community.

“It’s a shame because, just when we were starting to build up a strong team, some important members of the squad will not be available.”

Hill’s players and supporters have reflected on a promising campaign in which the villagers finished seventh in Mercian League Division One.

They celebrated at the Golden Cross pub where secretary Gill Martin, won the clubperson of the year award, with Scott Jordan winning the manager’s player of the year award and Stevie Preece bagging a prize for being the top goal-scorer.

Whitbread said: “It was a cracking night and we thank Aaron and Jan of the Golden Cross for their excellent hospitality on the night throughout the season. The music was provided by the Cellar Boys.”

Looking back at the season, Whitbread said: “We started off really well and then the wet weather interrupted us and we lost momentum at a crucial time and we struggled to get it back. We picked up two or three injuries to key players and that affected us as well.

“We got more points and finished higher than we had done the previous season.

“It was a really good season and I think the hard work is paying off.”

He added: “We may have to miss a weekend on August 16 because it’s Adam Warren’s wedding and the lads are off to his stag party in Magaluf in July.”

“We have our main fund-raiser for the season – the village fete on Saturday, June 28 and we will be needing some people from the club to help out.”