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UPDATED: Gordon Bartlett looking for Wealdstone's next rising star after Tom Pett's dream move to Stevenage
Wealdstone manager Gordon Bartlett is trying “to find the next little gem” after the club’s Player of the Season Tom Pett secured a dream move into the Football League with Stevenage.
Pett has agreed a switch to the League Two club for an undisclosed fee, subject to a medical, although the contract length has not be revealed.
The 22-year-old joins a long list of Wealdstone players who have secured moves into professional football after successful spells at last season’s Ryman Premier champions.
Long-standing manager Bartlett said: “We are delighted for Tom and although we are naturally sorry to see him go, he thoroughly deserves this great opportunity.
"Tom joins the growing list of young talented Wealdstone players who have developed and moved on to either Conference Premier or Football League clubs in recent seasons.
"I believe it must be virtually one every season for the last ten years or so, which speaks volumes for our club and enhances our reputation of nurturing young talent.
“Tom leaves with our very best wishes for the future and a big thank you for his outstanding attitude and the superb example he has set during his three years at the club. We will not only miss Tom around the club, but also his family who have always supported him throughout his career.
“As Tom moves on to bigger and better things, we must now focus on our new challenge of the Conference South without him and try to find the next little gem to follow in his footsteps.”
Pett joined the Stones from Potters Bar Town in January 2012 and has impressed during his two and a half seasons at the club.
He had unsuccessful trials at Football League clubs last summer but enjoyed a fantastic 2013/14 campaign.
His 18 goals helped earn the Player of the Season award and a move to the Football League.
“I’m absolutely buzzing. When I heard Stevenage were interested it was a pretty easy decision. They are a massive club and I just can’t wait to get started,” Pett told the Stevenage website.
“It is massive for me. Every kid growing up wants to earn a professional contract and when Stevenage said they wanted to offer me a contract it was a dream come true.”
Pett is an attacking wide player who can also play in the hole behind the striker. He likes to take on opposition defenders and has an eye for goal.
He said: “It is a big step to play League football but I’m really excited and looking forward to testing myself against really good players. They will be more physical and athletic but I believe in my own ability and I believe I can be as good if not better than the players I am playing against.”
He added: “This season coming I have to get fit and get up to the standard of the other players in this league because I obviously haven’t trained as much as the pros because I was semi-pro but if I can get fit, then I have targets for myself in terms of scoring goals and winning games.
“Every footballer wants to play as high as they can so I would be lying if I didn’t say I wanted to play as high as I can but my main aim at the moment is to be as successful as possible at Stevenage.”