Witham Town assistant manager Brad King admitted that he had been surprised by Kye Ruel’s decision to quit the Village Glass Stadium to join their Ryman League division one north rivals Maldon and Tiptree.

The former East Thurrock midfielder had joined Witham before Christmas and played in Town’s 3-0 win against Maldon and Tiptree last month, but has now opted to join the Jammers.

Witham have moved quickly to bolster their squad numbers with the addition of Lee Townrow on a loan deal from Needham Market, but King was surprised that Ruel had moved on.

He said: “Importantly, Lee wants to be at the club.

“He could have gone on to other clubs, but he likes what we’re doing here.

“We only want players who want to be here and it’s the opposite case as it was with Kye Ruel.

“He has gone to Maldon and Tiptree, which I found very surprising given the comments he made to us after we played them recently.

“When he got told a seven-day notice had come in, he said ‘no chance, why would I?’

“Since then he has spoken to them and decided it was an offer he couldn’t turn down.

“He felt it was best for him.

“He could have done really well for us, but at the end of the day we can’t compete with clubs like that.

“But if they don’t want to be here then so be it.

“We’re happy with the players we’ve got and we’re happy to have someone like Lee Townrow on board.”

Witham are due to be on the road tomorrow as they head to AFC Sudbury in the league and will be looking to build on their 2-0 win against Redbridge on Tuesday.

Craig Emery is set to be missing after breaking his nose in Witham’s recent game against Harlow Town, while Danny Emmanuel is likely to have his fitness tested after a poor challenge left him in a heap on the floor late in the game against Redbridge.