Exit of Steve Mildenhall comes as a 'thunderbolt' to Scunthorpe United boss Brian Laws
THE departure of Steve Mildenhall has come as a 'thunderbolt' to Brian Laws, the Scunthorpe United manager admitted.
The on-loan goalkeeper should have remained with the Iron for another week, but instead saw his stay at Glanford Park cut short to enable him to move to League Two side Bristol Rovers on a similar deal until the end of the season.
Mildenhall, who had been an ever present during his two months with Scunthorpe, told Laws he wanted to move closer to his family home in the south west on Sunday night.
Although understanding of the situation, and the fact that joining the Pirates offers better financial security, the Iron boss was disappointed at the timing of the news, which comes just 24 hours ahead of the Iron's game with fellow strugglers Oldham Athletic at Glanford Park.
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"It's knocked the wind out of my sails," Laws told the Telegraph.
"He came to my house late last night (Sunday) to tell me the situation and then I got a phone call from Millwall to say they'd had a very good offer from Bristol Rovers to take his contract on for the rest of the season.
"It's half an hour from where he lives, so logistically it's a no-brainer.
"We couldn't offer him anything longevity wise either so really it's been taken out of our hands, but the fact it's happened so quickly means it has come as a thunderbolt.
"It's left us in no man's land, but we can't make him stay and we can't make the club let him stay."
Mildenhall's exit means Sam Slocombe will return to the starting line-up for the Iron's game with the Latics.
Laws said he was, at present, unsure whether he would seek to bring in a new goalkeeper having been pleased with the 'presence' former Grimsby and Yeovil Town stopper Mildenhall had brought to the club's defensive line during his two months on loan.
"We'll assess if we think a new goalkeeper is neccessary and if so we'll have to reacquaint ourselves with some," he added.
"Sam has been waiting since he came out of the side, now he's got an opportunity to cement his place. He's chomping at the bit to get back in.
"It's a difficult situation. But the most important thing is we don't let it distract us from one of our biggest games of the season.
"We must stay positive."