DARREN Manning insists Liam Nash’s departure from Hullbridge Sports less than a month after returning to the club did not come as a shock.

Nash joined the Isthmian North club from National League South outfit Hemel Hempstead Town in December, but the striker has since moved onto Dartford.

And, having seen him score two goals in as many appearances during his second spell at the Ryan’s Heating Stadium, Manning is thankful for Nash’s influence during his brief stint.

“Liam has gone to Dartford, which is a brilliant move for him as they are a big club at the minimum level he should be playing at,” said Sports boss Manning.

“We knew Liam’s move back to Hullbridge would only be short-term.

“But I really want to thank him for his influence and quality while he was here.”

Hullbridge are set to welcome Dereham Town, who are just two points adrift of the play-off spots, to the Ryan’s Heating Stadium tomorrow.

Dereham have recorded back-to-back wins over Basildon United and Canvey Island to race into contention for a place in the top five.

But 12th-placed Sports are in fine form themselves, having won three of their last four fixtures.

Hullbridge sealed a 1-0 victory at Soham Town Rangers last weekend as Joe Wright bagged the all-important goal.

Although a late Andre Gumbs red card was disappointing, Manning was pleased to bag all three points.

“We were superb in awful conditions,” added Manning.

“I felt we put on a disciplined away performance and I couldn’t have been happier.

“It’s never nice to get red cards and Andre was a little unfortunate with how it happened.

“But we have to move onto the next game and use the squad accordingly.

“Dereham are a good side and we drew at their place earlier in the season when I felt we deserved a win, but that’s football.

“We know what to expect and hope to execute our game plan as we have in the last two games.”