Barnstaple Town manager Barry Yeo praises outgoing striker Dave Pearse

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BARRY Yeo has praised the “brilliant” Dave Pearse following his departure from Barnstaple Town.

But the Barum boss now wants a reaction from his current crop of strikers and has challenged them to “step up to the plate”.

Yeo signed Pearse in February 2014 when he took charge at Mill Road and the striker repaid him with eight goals between then and the end of the season.

In his first full season, Pearse bagged 23 goals as Barnstaple stormed to the Toolstation Western League First Division title.

He broke the 20-goal barrier again last season – scoring 21 in Town’s famous Premier Division season which saw them promoted to the Evo-Stik League Southern.

Pearse looks set to head back to Street – closer to where he lives in Bridgwater – following a long association with the Western League club.

“We’ve got a great understanding and there was no problem with the decision whatsoever,” said Yeo.

“He feels the travelling is starting to catch up on him. There was a chance this could happen so he came and spoke to me.

“There was no pressure on him, he made up his mind, we are happy with that and it gives us the option to look at something else now.

“We wish him all the very best, he has been brilliant for us and will certainly be a loss.

“He has been here every week, scored lots of goals, created lots of goals and every player who played with him will say how good he was.”

Pearse had featured prominently for Barnstaple this season, despite challenging for a place with hotshot Ryan Turner and summer signing James Blake.

Scott Sharp has also been battling for the No 9 shirt and Yeo – who confirmed Barnstaple would not bring in another striker – said he was happy with his current frontline.

“It gives us a chance to move on and look at something a little bit different,” said Yeo. “But we are not going to rush into that.

“It’s an opportunity for players like Blakey and Sharpy to step up to the plate.

“What this does is enable us to possibly strengthen in other areas of the pitch as I have three strikers – along with Will Nicholls on loan – that we are happy with.

“In football you move on, we won’t be sulking about it. We were sad to see him leave but it’s an opportunity for other players.

“We want to see a reaction from them.”

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