Braintree Town’s rising stars will be given their chance to shine next year, but manager Alan Devonshire says he will need to bring in a new striker this summer.

Devonshire has a hole to fill in his squad after seeing last season’s top scorer, Ben Wright, become the first player to leave in the close-season as he has joined Blue Square Bet Premier rivals Forest Green Rovers on a two-year deal.

The 23-year-old’s departure leaves the Iron boss’ striking options a bit thinner than he would like.

While he has a few younger players emerging through the reserves, most notably Lewis Bentley, who made an impact in the first-team towards the end of last season, Devonshire admits he needs to bring a new face in to bolster his squad.

He said: “The young players will be given their chance, but I will be looking to bring someone else in on top of the players I was looking to bring in before Ben left.”

But while he was sorry to see an important member of his squad depart, Devonshire said Wright left with his blessing.

He added: “We were talking all the way through and I did want to keep Ben, but the financial package was one that he couldn’t turn down.

“It’s full-time football and I really do wish him well.

“I tried to keep him because he was our top goal scorer and not only that, he topped the league’s stats in the number of goal assists he made.

“He scored 18 goals and made 17 assists, which was the highest in the league.

“That’s a big hole for me to fill as Ben is a top quality player.

“I had worked with him before and I wish him well now, but we have to accept that if players do well then they will get noticed by other clubs and they may move on.”

And Devonshire admitted that he thought “one or two” more may be on the their way before the team start their Blue Square Bet Premier push next season.

He also said that he didn’t expect there to be any more players from last season’s squad signing new deals until they reconvene to start pre-season training.

However, the Iron boss knows who his targets are for players he would like to bring in.

He added: “We are making progress and there could be some news in the next couple of weeks, but there’s nothing to report right at the moment.”

See the Braintree and Witham Times every week for the latest news and views from the Iron.