VERWOOD Town boss Adie Arnold has described as “a massive loss” the impending departure of inspirational skipper Matt Delaney.

The combative central defender and his American fiancée Lindsay have decided to emigrate and set up home in Hudson, Massachusetts.

Delaney, who is due to fly to the States in January, joined the Potters three years ago and led from the front as they lifted the Wessex One title last season.

The 27-year-old met Lindsay when the pair attended Southern New Hampshire University where Delaney did a three-year football scholarship.

Verwood manager Arnold told the Daily Echo: “We aren’t the most vocal team in the league and Matt is our leader, both on and off the pitch.

“As a manager, you need someone who you can trust once the players have crossed the white line and Matt has been that man for us.

“I think he could have played at least a couple of leagues higher. But he has enjoyed his time with us and we have been very fortunate to have been able to hang on to him.

“He has an intimidating look about him. He is shaven headed and can be quite scary when he shouts at people with his Liverpudlian accent. Behind that though, he is a very quietly spoken guy and a really nice guy.

“Everywhere we go, other managers ask us where we got him and that is because he is such a good player. I wouldn’t swap him for any other defender in the Wessex Premier.”

Delaney, who also played locally for Poppies and Cobham Sports, is hoping to rejoin Seacoast United Phantoms when he returns to America, having captained the New Hampshire-based outfit during his university days.

Ever present for Verwood this season, Delaney has netted four times in the Potters’ debut campaign in Wessex Premier and will lead them against struggling Lymington Town tonight.

Delaney said: “I am disappointed to be leaving halfway through the season but, having had my visa granted, I only have a few months in which to go.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with Verwood and winning the league and playing in the Premier Division have been the main highlights.”

Verwood will be hoping to improve their league position when they host Lymington at Potterne Park, the second-from-bottom visitors having failed to win in the league since the opening day of the season.

Potters: (from) Lynch, Evans, Kelly, Delaney, J Smith, Dyer, Webb, Saxby, Hill, Gajic, Haskell, Satterley, M Smith, Shepherd, Anderton, O’Connell, Batchelor, Rhodes.