CONOR McCarthy, son of Winchester City owner Paul, has left the Evo-Stik Southern One South & West club.

According to his dad, the 21-year-old centre-back, a linchpin of last season’s Sydenhams Premier title triumph, was no longer enjoying his football.

“Conor’s studying sports science and sports psychology at university and he wants to concentrate on that for now,” explained McCarthy Snr, pictured below.

“It’s a massive blow to lose him, but Conor’s been struggling to commit to travelling and he’s left for the time being.

“I think he will play again, but maybe for another club. It’s hard for any player being the chairman’s son.

“I wish Conor good luck wherever he ends up and I’ll go and watch him when I can.”

When McCarthy Snr first took control at Winchester in 2008, it was widely rumoured that his main motivation for getting involved was to give Conor a platform to play on.

But anyone who assumes he will throw in the towel now that his son is no longer part of the club is barking up the wrong tree, according to the man himself.

“Plenty of bitching goes on, but Conor leaving won’t affect my commitment to Winchester,” stressed the ex-boxer.

“Unless I go skint or have a mental breakdown, I’m here for good.

“It’s tough for everyone financially these days and it tests you to be involved with a club like this. It’s like a massive charity – all you do is pay money in and get nothing back.

“But I’m going nowhere. My commitment is 100 per cent.”

With Scottish right-back James McGowan returning to live north of the border, City have lost two key members of their back four.

“We’re a bit short at the back,” said McCarthy. “But Mike Byrne’s back in the fold after a groin injury, Adam Tomasso’s playing well as a sweeper and we’ve got a couple of lads from the reserves coming through.

“Adam Conway’s a quality full-back/centre-back who we will be looking to get involved at Paulton Rovers tomorrow and Kyle Williams has also been doing well.”

Having lost six of their last seven league games, Winchester have dropped to 14th, level on points with tomorrow’s hosts Paulton. After a stuttering start to the campaign, the Somerset hosts have banked eight of the last available 12 points.

“It’s a massive game tomorrow,” said McCarthy. “I have to say we’ve been very unlucky, not just football-wise but also with refereeing decisions.”