MANAGER Ken Vaughan insisted the departure of top scorer Martin Warren was in Poppies’ best interests after the striker switched to Blackfield & Langley.

Last week, the Victoria Park boss was adamant his 13-goal hitman would be staying put despite an approach from the Watersiders, however, Warren lined up and scored for his new club in their 4-1 defeat at Brockenhurst in midweek.

And while Vaughan, whose charges battled back from two goals down in the dying stages to secure a 2-2 draw at backmarkers Fawley on Wednesday, was sorry to see the frontman leave, he conceded the move was inevitable.

Vaughan told the Daily Echo: “He had to go really, it had gone full circle with Martin. We discussed the seven-day approach, he said he was staying one minute and was unsure the next.

“When he arrived at one of the Saturday games he was still undecided so I told him he had 10 minutes to make up his mind before I made it up for him. He said he was staying but from his performance in that game you could see his heart wasn’t in it.”

Threadbare Poppies grabbed their last-ditch point through Richard Jackson’s driven finish a minute from time before Fawzi Saadi scored six minutes into added time at relegation rivals Fawley.

Vaughan continued: “There could have been a big uproar because we had two blatant penalties turned down, but credit to the lads, we were light on numbers and battled back after getting caught cold early on.”

Poppies hope to have Will Robinson, Taffy Richardson, Luke Ingram, Scott Costello and Gareth Owens available for tomorrow’s home match with Brockenhurst.

Elsewhere in the Wessex Premier, Christchurch boss Michael Cuffie vowed to shake up his squad on the back of heavy defeats to Alresford Town and Hamworthy United.

After shipping 11 goals in those two games, James Burden returns, while youngsters Ryan Davidson, Lewis Proudley, Chuk Debigbo and Peter Taylor could be drafted in.

Verwood Town hope to register ex-Bashley striker Leighton Speechley-Price and his 16-year-old brother Mitchell, a winger, in time for their trip to Winchester City.

In Wessex One, New Milton host Hayling United (all 3pm).