Door is still wide open for Mackey, says Holleran

Leamington manager Paul Holleran has moved quickly to scotch speculation that Ben Mackey has left the club on a permanent basis.

The striker returned to the New Windmill in the summer after being released by Corby Town following a leg break in January.

However, an injury picked up in pre-season set back Mackey’s rehabilitation and the former Brackley Town player was unable to force his way into Brakes’ starting line-up.

He was subsequently loaned out to Stratford Town where he has scored seven goals, including five in the FA Cup replay against Newcastle Town.

A radio interview given by Stratford boss Morton Titterton last week seemed to infer there was no way back for Mackey at Leamington, but Holleran says “the door is still wide open”.

“Ben’s still registered with Leamington,” said Holleran.

“It was one of those scenarios where he needed to play games.

“When players are non-contract like Ben, you don’t have any real hold over the player.

“When he gets back to fitness you hope the carrot of playing for Leamington will appeal, but we were of the opinion that he needed a two-month run of games.

“There’s no real issue. He’s gone to an environment where he’ll be very happy and well looked after and it’s a level of football he’ll do well at.

“From my point of view the situation hasn’t changed.

“He’s still on a Southern League form and that’s how the situation is.

“As far as I’m concerned the door is still wide open for Ben.”

However, Titterton, speaking ahead of his side’s FA Vase clash with Racing Club Warwick, said Mackey’s version of events differed somewhat.

“His understanding is that he’s been released by Leamington,” said Titterton.

“He’s had no contact from the club since he left and that’s been a month at least.”

The former Brakes assistant manager did admit, though, that keeping hold of a fully-fit Mackey would be a difficult task for the Midland Alliance side.

“Ben’s got aspirations to play as high as he can and he’s been honest about that.

“If we can’t match those at the club, he’ll move on.

“It’s up to us to take advantage of the situation short-term.

“But if Paul Holleran called him back and Ben Mackey wanted to go back, we’re both adult enough to know that’s what will happen.”

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