Paul Doswell proud of Ross Stearn’s progress as deal agreed for winger to leave Sutton United and join Eastleigh

Sutton United have been dealt a major blow after winger Ross Stearn departed the club to join National League rivals Eastleigh.

United rejected a £10,000 offer for the player prior to Saturday’s home game with Barrow, but Stearn has now left after second offer was agreed.

Manager Paul Doswell had already accepted that the player would leave the club, but was hopeful they could keep the winger until at least January.

However, Eastleigh returned with a suitable bid and the 26-year-old has now moved on after catching the eye of several clubs this season.

Doswell said: “Ross has improved almost game by game since joining Sutton, and thoroughly deserves this chance to secure his family’s future for the next three years, whilst also realising an ambition to be a full time professional.

“Whilst we didn’t want to sell, Ross only had six months left on his contract, and it was unlikely that he would sign another due to his family circumstances and a regular three hour drive to the club.

“As a club we feel very proud that we can improve players and give them a chance to progress with full time football, and Eastleigh have provided Ross with this chance.

“I also have every faith in Ryan Burge and Bradley Hudson-Odoi that they can help fill the void left by Ross, and we still maintain the best squad of players that I’ve ever had the pleasure to manage.”

Stearn had been one of Sutton’s standout performers in the club’s first season in the National League following promotion last campaign.

Doswell felt the move was in the best interest of both parties and believes the club can take a huge amount of credit for the player’s development.

“We will always make the right decisions for the club and our players,” he said.

“We don’t have the financial capacity of most clubs at this level, but players sign here because they know we will improve them and honour our word to let them progress.

“It’s a huge badge of honour for the coaching staff, especially Ian Baird who stays out of the limelight but has a great ability to get the best out of players who previously have been released as not good enough, or in Ross Stearn’s  case, was a perennial substitute for Bath City.

“There was a debate in the summer as to whether he would step up to this level but, in my view, he not only stepped up, he now looks a League One or League Two player.”

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