NEWTOWN have been dealt a double blow as two stars of last season both departed this week.
Top scorer Jason Oswell and midfielder Alex Fletcher have joined captain Shane Sutton in quitting Latham Park for the Vanarama National League North, level six of the English pyramid.
While Sutton joined AFC Telford United last week after nine years as a Robin, Oswell has joined Stockport and Fletcher has agreed a switch to Southport.
With Steff Edwards joining Airbus UK Broughton and Ross Stephens also departing at the end of last season the Robins have lost five of their squad in just a fortnight.
The Robins had expected a fight to keep their player of the year after Oswell’s 22 goals last season earned him the Dafabet Welsh Premier player of the year award as well as golden boot as top scorer.
Oswell departs Latham Park with a record of 51 goals in 91 appearances having netted double figures in each of his three seasons since joining from Rhyl.
Meanwhile Fletcher departs Latham Park after a successful debut campaign having arrived from Tividale last summer following spells at Ross County, AFC Telford and Shrewsbury Town.
Despite being just 20, Fletcher would become a key performer in the Robins midfield.
Manager Chris Hughes said: “It is disappointing to lose Jason, he has been a fantastic player for us in recent years, and his goals have been so valuable.
“He will be a big miss for us, he has been a fantastic for myself and the club but expressed a desire to return to the English system so we wish him all the best in his new venture."
“It is also disappointing to lose Fletch, but he also expressed his desire to move back to the English system.
“He has been a top player for us this season, at such a young age, and we wish him all the very best in the future.”
The Robins manager will now look to sign strengthen his squad ahead of the new campaign but will face a stern challenge in replacing three key players from last season.
While Hughes will also look to fend off interest from rivals in the remainder of his squad which he will look to maintain to ensure the strides of the past three seasons continue.
Robins secretary Owen Durbridge said “ We wish Jason the very best of luck and are proud of his feats in scooping the Golden Boot and welsh Premier player of the year for last season".”
See full story in the County Times