Whitchurch Alport assistant boss Steve May has confirmed that former Burnley and Northern Ireland striker Steve Jones has opted to leave the club to move closer to his south Cheshire home.

Jones, who has also turned out for Crewe Alexandra, Huddersfield and won 29 caps for Northern Ireland, has decided to leave the club, opting to sign for First Division South outfit Alsager Town.

May felt the time was right to communicate to the club’s supporters given the high turnover of players this season, with the loss of Jones coming hot on the heels of popular goalkeeper Dave Parton.

“We were really disappointed to lose Jonah because we were desperate for him to stay,” he said.

“Steve hadn’t trained with us for three weeks and he wasn’t always available for matches either and had that been the case with any other player we would have let them go without thinking.

“But he’s an ex-professional footballer with international experience who brings more to the club than what people realise.

“For instance, when he did train he would take the strikers for extra coaching and he had so many contacts in the game you always knew that they could be beneficial to us.”

May insisted the Yockings Park outfit did all they could to keep the 43-year-old striker, who scored one goal for his country.

But the desire to be closer to home proved to be too much for the veteran frontman.

May added: “We sat down with him and asked him what he wanted.

“We took on board his work commitments, the time he wanted to spend with his family, the lack of commitment he could give to us in terms of training, his unavailability some weekends – we discussed everything.

“We told him he could play without training which is unprecedented for us but that’s how much we wanted him to stay and how flexible we were in order to make that happen.

“Alsager is close to where he lives, he can turn up there whenever he wants, skip training and probably get to spend more time at home and we get all that.

“But it doesn’t make it any less of a bitter pill to swallow when we lose another player.”