STUART Tanfield has left Basingstoke Town after being told by manager Ernie Howe he is not the man to fill the troublesome left midfield spot.

As Howe bids to respond positively to Town's woeful FA Trophy exit on Saturday, he has told the 23-year-old ex-Aldershot and Fareham player he does not see a future for him in his side.

After a promising start following his summer arrival, pacey Tanfield faded badly and struggled to compete against more physical opponents - factors which led to Howe's decision.

The Town boss said: "I've spoken to Stuart about his future and told him I am going to replace him because I didn't think he was achieving what he should be.

"It was a hard job to do because he is such a nice lad. He is committed, hasn't missed training once and wants to be here.

"I thought when we signed him we might get him to do certain things for us, but he hasn't been up to it and isn't quite what we are looking for.

"Looking at his performances, he's got pace and can deliver a ball, but if I'm brutally honest, those situations were few and far between.

"He felt he was doing ok but, and I'm not being nasty, at 23 I still don't think he fully comprehends the game."

Howe added: "I'm not happy with the balance of my side and I am making provisions to bring someone in."

In his search for a left-sided performer, Howe looked at Irishman Durragh Ryan last month in a trial match against Staines, but circumstances were not right for him to join the Camrose ranks.

Continuing his search, Howe hoped Lymington and New Milton's Ben Thomson would be the answer, but talks did not work out.

Howe said: "I don't think Ben wanted to leave Lymington. We couldn't give him a great deal up here and I think Lymington had offered him more.

"Also, I think he works with Jimmy Sheppard (Lymington captain) and our offer wasn't big enough to persuade him that he wanted to do it."

Since then, Town have put in a seven-day approach for St Albans City's ex-QPR left-winger Ben Walsh.

Howe said of Wednesday's meeting with the player: "Because St Albans have appointed a new manager, he wants to give it another month there to see what happens.

"So it means that I will have to look elsewhere."

After a period of indifferent and inconsistent form, Howe knows action is needed - especially with the pain of last weekend's 4-0 defeat to lower-league Windsor and Eton still fresh.

Town's mauling ended their FA Trophy campaign at the first stage, mirroring their exit in the FA Cup last month, when AFC Newbury knocked them out of a potentially lucrative national competition.

The latest blow is costly in terms of revenue and leaves Town with the Nationwide South, Carthium and Hampshire Senior Cups to play for this season.