ANDY Preece credits the emergence of Tom Warmer as a key factor behind dispensing with Graham Hyde.

Experienced midfielder Hyde joined Nationwide North bottom club Hednesford Town for the rest of the season after failing to regain his place in City's first-team.

Following his last City start against Worksop Town on December 10, the 35-year-old endured a combination of injuries and family problems.

The former Sheffield Wednesday star was eager to reclaim his place after regaining fitness, but found his way blocked by Warmer.

Warmer has firmly established himself as a crucial component in City's engine room, despite kicking his heels in the first month of the season.

He failed to register a single minute of senior football in the opening six games, leaving him to question whether he was part of Preece's plans.

But after knuckling down in training, tough-nut Warmer, a former West Brom Albion scholar, fought back for a regular place.

Through sheer consistency, he is now one of the first names on Preece's team-sheet.

"Tom has improved so much," said Preece. "He was not getting first-team football at the start of the season and was not happy being out of the team. But he's come in and done a great job for us. He took advantage of a situation where somebody else was unlucky. It can change like that overnight -- that's what happens in football.

"He's been almost an ever presence since then. Football can change so quickly and Tom is an example of that.

"When things are not going right for a player, you still expect them to look after themselves and continue training properly. Tom has that character and he's getting his rewards."

Hyde joins left-back Les Hines at the struggling Keys Park outfit, who are staring relegation to the Southern Premier Division square in the face.

Despite only clocking up 19 full appearances in all competitions at St George's Lane, Preece reckons Hyde's professionalism and know-how rubbed off on the club's younger players.

"Hydey was a great lad to have around the dressing room," said Preece. "He was a magnificent example for all the younger players, with the way he conducted himself.

"But sometimes, it's just not meant to be. He's a good player, but just been so unfortunate with illness and injuries. He's said himself that he's never known a season like it.

"For the few games that he did play, Hydey did well for us. I'm just sorry for him that it didn't quite work out.