SHOCKED Christchurch boss Adie Arnold has resigned himself to losing Marc Fairbrother and Connor Doe – but still left open the door for a future return.

Bournemouth Poppies manager Ken Vaughan yesterday revealed he was close to snapping up the Priory pair with Arnold conceding he was unable to offer any financial rewards to prevent their defection to Victoria Park.

“I have to admit I was taken by surprise,” said Arnold. “I would have liked to keep both lads and it came a little bit out of the blue because I wouldn’t have expected the merry-go-round to start before we had kicked a ball.

“That said, I would like to wish them good luck.

“As disappointed as I was, we parted on good terms and I understood their reasons.

“We are a non-paying club so it is very difficult to convince players to stay once there is a few quid involved, we just can’t compete with that.

“They are both good players who will be assets to Poppies and if things don’t work out over there, they are always welcome back at Christchurch.”

However, there was positive transfer news for Christchurch as Arnold finally completed his swoop for striker Jack Lovell, who had spent a part of pre-season with former club Verwood Town.

Arnold added: “We had to be patient but we were always confident of getting Jack. He is one of those lads you cannot pressurise but we are delighted to sort it all out.

“He is very raw with a lot to learn but we feel he is the sort of player we can improve.”

Christchurch have also signed Sonny Wilkinson, a midfielder who spent last season with Holt United, following a successful trial.