CAPTAIN Luke Graham says the closure of Hereford United's youth team would be a "massive blow to the club."

The Bulls are facing having to disband the team that reached the FA Youth Cup fourth round if they cannot guarantee the £65,000 needed to fund it for next season by Monday, February 17.

United’s youth-team assistant manager Steve Jenkins has already left the Edgar Street club as part of the latest another round of cost-cutting.

“Losing the youth system would be a massive blow to the club," Graham said. "If you have young

players coming through, they should aspire to be in the first team.

“We have a problem attracting players to Hereford – most of the squad live two or three hours away.

“It is vital funding comes through to keep the youth team running.”

A club statement said: "While this is very disappointing, this was a unanimous decision made by the board.

"The aim is clear - to focus all of the club's efforts and revenues on the first team squad to provide a competitive playing budget while working to the break even budget.

"We have not given up hope of obtaining a sponsor, and will continue to discuss sponsorship options with any parties that wish to support the youth section."

Graham has also praised the efforts of boss Martin Foyle after he was named managed of the month for January.

Although Hereford were beaten 3-0 at Woking on Monday, the skipper reckons Foyle and assistant Andy Porter deserve credit for working under tight financial restraints.

Graham, whose side are due to host Macclesfield Town in the Skrill Premier today (3pm), said: “Martin and Andy Porter have done a brilliant job - the budget is a third of what it was when the club were in the Football League.

“We have no scout, catering or analysis and the gaffer and Andy Porter are going to three or four matches a week.”