MANAGER Ashley Vincent has challenged Worcester City’s midfielders to stop him seeking a replacement for “class act” Aaron Birch.

The City gaffer revealed no immediate plans to draft in a fresh face despite losing his captain to Alvechurch on Friday.

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Vincent revealed the 24-year-old had been the subject of “seven or eight approaches” from a “minimum” of two levels above before accepting the offer of a contract at Lye Meadow.

But while the ex-Hereford man leaves big boots to fill, the remaining players in his position are set to get a fair crack of the whip ahead of tonight’s home clash with Coventry United in the Midland Football League Premier Division (7.45).

“Birchy is a class act. I knew it would be a backs-to-the-wall job to even get him in,” said Vincent.

“I managed that but to be honest I didn’t expect to keep him for the whole season, even if I had hoped to keep him for a bit longer.

“We had seven or eight approaches and they were all been from two divisions above, minimum. This was just an opportunity – financially and with it being close to his home – that he felt he had to take.

“He is still at the right age to want to push on and play at higher levels and he had to go and give it a chance with a contract at another club.

“I regard Birchy as a friend as well as a player and he has been a class act for us on and off the pitch, he goes with our best wishes and we hope he pushes on the level he is capable of playing at, which is even higher than the one he has gone to.

“Kurt (Mewies) added a bit of bite and solidity, then we have Liam Lockett, Chris Withington and Joel Caines, they did well at South Normanton.

“You would never close the door on good players but you cannot replace Birchy, it was probably a stroke of luck to get someone of his calibre and I am unlikely to get another Aaron Birch at this level, it just isn’t going to happen.

“I could possibly get someone who would give us a different dimension but it is also fair to give the lads in my squad a chance.

“I have Josh Willis who can play those positions and wants to play football, and he will do with the number of games we have coming up.

“It would be fair to give them a good run, they turn up on a Monday and Thursday and train hard, I have them in the squad because they are good players and I have to give them the opportunity to prove that.

“My eyes are not shut to bringing someone in but nor are they shut to what we have in the dressing room already."