SKIPPER Matt Sysum's decision to leave Cirencester Town for Evo-Stik League Southern Division One South and West rivals Evesham United has 'rocked' the Centurions, according to boss Brian Hughes.
The bullish centre-half has been a key component of a Centurions side that have worked their way into the play-off places this term.
But the former Gloucester City man has decided to cut his ties with Cirencester and link up with Paul West's Robins, leaving Hughes searching for a new captain ahead of tomorrow's trip to Sholing (3pm).
"It's a massive blow to lose Matt and the move has surprised us a bit," Hughes said,
"It's another one to chalk up to the list of players that have left the club for a bit of extra money here and there.
"You look at in two ways, 50 per cent of you is massively disappointed but the other 50 per cent is used to this kind of thing happening and you just have to get on with it.
"It's down to money in the end. I asked him to be honest with me and say why he was leaving but he gave me a reason that I didn't believe.
"To be fair we are in the modern world, one where right from the very top to the bottom money talks.
"Matt is a lovely young lad and we obviously wish him well for the future. But it has rocked us a little as we've lost a crucial player to us and even in the first game without him we conceded at least one goal that we wouldn't have normally done."
That goal came in a 3-2 defeat at Clevedon Town on Wednesday night when the Centurions were hit by a double strike from ex-Scotland international and Bristol City star Scott Murray.
The one-time Cheltenham Town loanee is only available to Seagulls boss and ex-City team-mate Mickey Bell when games don't clash with his commitments as Ashton Gate kitman.
But the 38-year-old was the difference between the two sides as Clevedon chalked up the victory.
"To be fair to Mickey Bell at Clevedon, he's done a really good job and got some excellent players in there now," Hughes said.
"Unfortunately for us it was one of the nights that Scott Murray was available and he proved to be the difference with the quality he has."
Murray gave his side the lead three minutes before the break before Scott Griffin levelled the scores for the visitors with a stunning 30-yard strike shortly after the restart.
Further goals from Sam Teale and Murray ensured that the points stayed in Somerset while Sam Packer netted a late consolation for the Centurions.