BOSS Matty Holmes admitted his disappointment over losing Gerard Benfield to Salisbury but insisted: “It’s just where we are in the pecking order.”

The talented stopper had signed a new contract at KoolPak Stadium to keep him with Magpies for the 2019-20 campaign.

But Southern League South big guns Salisbury swooped in to snap up the stopper for an undisclosed fee.

Benfield is now the second player to exit Wimborne for the Raymond McEnhill Stadium this summer, after star frontman Toby Holmes also joined Steve Claridge’s Whites.

Discussing the departure of his goalkeeper, Holmes told the Daily Echo: “It’s one we are really disappointed with, to be honest.

“He’d agreed to sign a new contract but, as players do, they get a whiff of interest and I got a call from Steve Claridge.

“Once a player knows there is interest from a club like that, they want to explore it further. It is what it is, you have to let the player then talk to them, see what they have to say and it’s very difficult to try to keep them.

“Again, like with Toby and what had been offered, we then couldn’t match it. It’s just where we are in the pecking order at the minute but we will keep fighting, recruiting and looking to develop boys like Toby and Gerard.

“We didn’t want them to go and tried very hard to keep both of them but they have both decided to move on.”

A mainstay of Magpies’ squad since signing from Hamworthy United in July 2016, Benfield helped Holmes’s men finish 14th in their first season at step three.

The boss added: “There was a small fee for Gerard in the end.

“We have a sell-on built into it because he is a highly-rated keeper in our eyes. There is a protection if he does develop, which I’m sure he will do.

“I did all I could (to keep him) and Shane Traynor did all he could – he is very close to Gerard and they work together.

“But once Salisbury had spoken to him and sold their club, it was then difficult to turn him round.

“We tried to desperately but he has had to make that big brave decision. We had done a lot with him and had protected him as well.

“He has gone through spells where possibly another manager may have rested him and looked to put another keeper in but, in general, he has been excellent and that’s why people started to look at him.”