Bognor boss Jack Pearce has admitted the Rocks could struggle to keep hold of midfield starlet Tommy Block as news of interest from Championship Bristol City has emerged.
Block, still only 17, was the outstanding player for the Nyewood Lane outfit in the disappointing 1-0 defeat at Oxford City in the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup on Saturday.
He has already been linked with a move to Sheffield United and now the Ashton Gate side are said to be keen to follow up their interest in the former Brighton trainee.
Pearce said: “If he continues to play like he has, and develops to his potential then, as you would expect, bigger clubs will be looking at him. That is a just a matter of fact for a club at our level.”
Losing Block would be a huge blow to Pearce and the threat of him leaving comes on the back of the departure of Alex Parsons, who can’t fulfil the level of commitment needed for the National League South.
Parsons, a plumber by trade and a part-time model, is said to have landed a job in the fashion industry in London which has impacted on his time and his availability for training.
He is expected to continue the season with Bostik Premier League Worthing, for whom he is dual-signed.
Meanwhile, Pearce says these are “worrying times” at the club given their poor league form and failure to bolster their ranks with players of the requisite quality to boost their league standing.
He said: “We need two or three players but we can’t seem to get anyone in. Clubs won’t just let players leave. We know what we need but finding those players is the tough part. The types of players we need would give us a boost and benefit us in a big way. It is very problematic.”
One player who was recruited was former Crystal Palace striker Ibra Sekajja, who played in the defeat at Oxford. But his long-term future isn’t necessarily at the Nye Camp as he has only signed for a month, and played in the defeat at Oxford.
The Rocks are languishing one place above the drop zone, and host Chippenham Town on Saturday in a game Pearce describes as “very important”.
And they do so without the services of experienced midfielder Dan Beck, who has jetted off to America on a family holiday. Pearce says his outfit will miss his strength in the middle of the park.
A Rocks statement on Parsons’ departure reads: “Since joining the club just over three years ago, Alex has been a firm favourite with the Rocks fans and also extremely popular in the dressing room.
“He played in some 130 matches and scored a number of memorable goals — his brace in a dramatic five minutes against Oxford City two years ago in the FA Cup will be fondly recalled by many. We wish Alex every success in his future career and thank him for all his efforts, commitment and loyalty in a Bognor shirt.”
Parsons took to Twitter to reveal his thoughts, tweeting: “Loved every minute of it and made memories that will always be cherished. Thank you to everyone at the club, the chairman, the board, everyone who works behind the scenes, the staff, Neil, Coops, Jack and Dabba who I can’t thank enough, and previously Rachel and Lee as well as Jamie, who I thank for getting me in.”
Pictures: TOMMY McMILLAN