Horsham manager Dominic Di Paola has accused Littlehampton of ‘unsettling’ Shaun Charles ahead of completing a transfer for the forward last week.
The versatile Charles, who won the County League with Di Paola at East Preston, joined the Hornets in the summer, but has made a swift exit to join the reigning champions.
He had made four substitute appearances for the Gorings Mead side after suffering an injury in pre-season and was set to play a big part this season, but the Horsham boss has been left unimpressed by the Golds’ pursuit of the youngster.
Niall O’Hagan, who had made one start, has also joined Arundel in search of game time, while promising youngster Jake Chadwick broke his collar bone in a youth team game at the weekend to complete a triple blow.
Di Paola said: “They are just looking to get more game time. Niall is moving to Cyprus at the end of the year and if it was any other season he would have given it a bit longer, but given he probably won’t be playing football out there, he just wants to play this year.
“Shaun is a strange one really. He lacks a bit of confidence in himself, which is a shame as I think he is a really good player. Littlehampton have been on to him all season, which has unsettled him completely.
“Niall I can understand, but Shaun would have had a key part to play. When you are lacking a bit of confidence and another manager is on at you constantly outside of football it makes it difficult.
“I feel a bit frustrated by it and if there was a proper way of dealing with it we would, but you never get far with it. I am disappointed, I haven’t fallen out with him, I am just disappointed he has gone as he is a good player for us.
“Still we have got a good squad and Evan (Archibald) could be back sooner than we thought. He could be back within the next month or so, so that is one positive with it.
“Young Jake (Chadwick) has also done his collarbone as well which is a bit of a shame.”
Horsham will welcome back Kieron Pamment, Darren Boswell and Ashley Jones for tonight’s trip to East Preston, while Kevin Keehan serves the first of a three-game suspension for his red card in the FA Cup.
Di Paola, who won the league at East Preston in his last full season there, added: “We had some really good times down there. They were a good club that was badly run.
“It will always feel bad that we could not go up, but the club is run by different people now and that’s life.
“We just need to get a win really. I am not bothered by who we are playing, we need to go into Saturday against Lancing with a win as they have started well.”