EXCLUSIVE: Pepper prepares to leave March Town United while Crosbie chases Thompson

CAPTAIN Luke Pepper has admitted that he is preparing to leave March Town United in search of a fresh start.

The 27-year-old, who is considering offers from Yaxley and Peterborough Northern Star, said he was unlikely to remain with his home-town club next season.

But new Hares boss Paul Crosbie could have a replacement in Wisbech Town midfielder Lewis Thompson, who has agreed to attend March’s pre-season training.

Pepper said: “I want the best for March and that’s why I’ve been there for so long but I feel like now is the time for a new challenge.

“I wouldn’t rule out returning in the future, I just feel like I need a fresh start.”

Pepper was one of 15 players who attended a meeting at the GER on Saturday, where Crosbie outlined his plans for the Hares.

But the March skipper also met with Yaxley boss Brett Whaley on Monday - where he was joined by Hares winger Ash Brand who is also lining up a move.

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Pepper said: “It’s going to be pretty much between Yaxley and PNS. Huntingdon and Thetford have also been on the phone but I’m not keen to go there.

“I’m going to go to pre-season at March but to be honest I can’t see how the club can go forward. The board are trying but it’s not really going anywhere fast.

“With the offers that I have on the table it’s going to be difficult to turn them away and stay this year.

“I was impressed with Paul and what he had to say. I get a good vibe from him but, for me, the problems are a bit deeper than the manager - it’s being able to attract the players.”

Fenmen fans’ favourite Thompson could be in line to replace Pepper as he considers whether to leave Wisbech in search of first team football.

Thompson said: “Paul’s experience speaks for itself and as a player you want to learn from people like that. That does make March attractive.”

Hares defenders Marc Welcher and Lewis Cook are being chased by Huntingdon Town, while striker Stu Anderson has been invited to train with Wisbech.

Anderson said: “I’m not going to just jump ship because I’d like to see what they’re doing at March. I’m going to train with March and Wisbech and see what happens.”

March begin their pre-season training on Monday at Neale-Wade (7.15pm). The Hares have organised friendlies with Wisbech, Long Sutton Athletic and Sleaford Town.