AFC Sudbury boss Mark Morsley has sent a strong message to the rest of his squad by axing Reece Dobson following his foul-mouthed rant at a referee.
The club were in the process of cancelling the 27-year-old’s contract as the Free Press went to print, with the forward said to have been apologetic for his actions, which saw him receive a straight red card for dissent in the 1-1 draw at Aveley on Saturday.
Dobson had only signed in mid-November on a one-year deal from higher-league Harlow Town to be reunited with Morsley, who he was previously with at Needham Market.
The player who had played professionally in Norway for Flekkeroy had been brought in to help add experience and leadership to a young squad.
But, despite his three-game suspension not starting until the weekend, the player who made 12 appearances, scoring three goals, was left out of the squad for Monday’s home derby with Bury Town after discussions began to end his time at the club.
AFC Sudbury secretary Dave Webb said: “Mark will not tolerate that type of behaviour and it sends a message out to the rest of the squad, especially the younger players.”
The expected exit could now leave AFC in the market for another striker.
But teenager Mekhi McKenzie, who came off the bench to score a late equaliser for the 10 men on Saturday, has every chance of continuing to push his claim.
Assistant manager Lee Norfolk said: “If you look at Mekhi today (1-1 draw with Bury) he has had an opportunity and I think he has taken it.
“He has done ever so well up there on his own and he was a handful.
“He scored on Saturday, so we know he can finish, so perhaps we go with him.”
Sudbury lie 15th in the Bostik League North Division table after back-to-back draws, with Norfolk targeting a winning run ahead of Saturday’s home game with third-from-bottom Norwich United (3pm) before Tuesday’s trip to Brentwood Town (19th) at 7.45pm.
“We have got a lot of games now that are winnable games and we have got to beat the sides in and around us,” he said.
Meanwhile, manager Mark Morsley has hit out at a section of the crowd who have criticised the displays of his much-changed side.
Writing in Monday’s match day programme, he said: “I have heard moans and groans from the small collection of our very negative followers about players and performances.
“Firstly, I describe those not as supporters, because real supporters back the team through thick and thin.
“I have heard some of our players booed and I think it is a disgrace.”
He went on to say players need ‘lifting not slating’ and urged fans to buy into his project to get Sudbury up the leagues.