Whitby Town bid farewell to midfielder Matty Brown, this weekend, as the hometown lad swaps Upgang Lane for uptown London.
The locally-born ace takes up a new job in the capital on Sunday (Jan 25) so faces his curtain call, 24 hours earlier, when the Blues host third-placed Buxton.
Blues player-manager Darren Williams told the Whitby Gazette: “It’ll be a shame to lose him.
“He’s been a credit to Whitby and to work with.
“He listens, learns and works his socks off.”
Brown is in his second spell with the Seasiders, after a handful of pre-season games under Harry Dunn in 2010.
The popular 22-year-old then left for West Virginia, playing college football before returning last summer and becoming one of Williams’ first signings of the new season.
“Matt’s done everything he can for us,” the Town boss continued.
“He’s played different roles and been left out at times, but he hasn’t got a lip on.
“He’s come on and produced the goods, I’m happy to have worked with him and hopefully, at some time, we’ll have him back.”
Ahead of Town’s second clash with a title-chasing Derbyshire side in seven days, following last weekend’s 1-1 draw at Ilkeston FC, Brown said: “I’d like to thank everyone involved with the club, especially the management, my team-mates and the fans.
“I’ve loved playing for my home town team and hope they push on for the rest of the season.”
Skipper Mark Robinson also paid tribute to Brown.
“He’s a great lad around the squad, great at training and I felt I’ve built a good partnership with Matt as I’ve played behind him a lot on the left,” he said.
Robinson (33), who has a bus full of pupils and parents, from the Teesside school where he teaches, attending Saturday’s game, added: “It’s a huge loss to the squad and I wish him well - he’s been a fantastic player for us.”
Visitors Buxton have also been fantastic, this season, with just three defeats away from home in the Evo-Stik NPL Premier and in Liam Hardy have the division’s top scorer, with 18 league goals so far.
The Bucks trail leaders Skelmersdale United, who they beat 3-2 away from home, less than a fortnight ago, by 11 points with four games in hand.
However, Williams is confident his side are also moving in the right direction.
“If we can keep what we’ve got for next season, we’ll be there or thereabouts,” he said.
“We had a tough start and it’ll be tough against Buxton - it always is.
“It was hard getting players settled in - and I think that has affected us- but there’s no reason why we can’t finish the season off strongly.”
Kick-off at the Turnbull Ground is 3pm with admission still free for under 16s, when accompanied by a paying adult, under 18s pay £2, concessions £5 and adults £9.
The Blues will also be presented with December’s NPL Premier Fair Play Award before the game.