Marcus Garnham admits that the lure of playing at a higher level was the reason for his departure from AFC Sudbury to Lowestoft Town.
The 27-year-old goalkeeper had agreed a deal to stay at The Wardale Williams Stadium last week, before reversing his decision following an unexpected call from higher-placed Lowestoft.
“I had agreed to stay at Sudbury and was happy there,” Garnham revealed.
“Then out of the blue I got a phone call from Lowestoft asking me if I was available.
“I didn’t expect it to happen. It will be a fun experience. I know they’ve already got a good goalkeeper in Jake (Jessup) there, but I’ve got to give it a go. I’m going to give it everything.”
And before leaving to join in the preparations for Lowestoft’s second season in Conference North, now rebranded as National League North, Garnham insists his former club can challenge for promotion next season.
“They’ve got two very good, eager young managers who are also good coaches too,” he said. “They’ll be challenging the players every week.
“I’m pleased they gave me the opportunity to play there and it’s a shame that we didn’t get what we wanted last year. But it was a positive year.”
Garnham - who has been named in the Ryman League Division One North team of the year with defenders Ryan Henshaw and James Baker- joined AFC in October after seven years at Bury Town.
Sudbury will now need to step up their search for Garnham’s successor after agreeing to let fellow shot-stopper Alex Archer leave the club earlier this week.
The 21-year-old was on loan at Bury for most of last season, having previously made a club record 116 consecutive appearances in goal for the Yellows.
Manager Jamie Godbold and his assistant Andy Reynolds were unavailable for comment at the time of going to press, with Sudbury now left with 19-year-old Luke Avenell as their only goalkeeper signed to the first-team.
The youngster rose to fame for AFC following his penalty shootout heroics in the third round of the Robert Dyas Ryman League Cup against Witham Town last season.
Avenell came on as an injury time substitute for the shootout, and saved two Witham spot kicks to help AFC win 4-3 on penalties.
Godbold may turn to experienced goalkeeper Louis Johnson, 31, who featured prominently for the club’s reserves last season.
n Last season’s top goalscorer Kris Newby has joined Ryman League Premier Division side East Thurrock United.