Shaun Want admits it’s a blow to Hamilton Accies to see defender Mihai Popescu move on, even if it does open the door for him to become a regular again next season.
The 25-year-old spent the second part of last season on loan at Peterhead after being kept out of the side by the Romanian and fellow centre-back Dan O’Reilly.
Popescu was a big fan favourite during his loan spell from Hearts and when his contract expired with the Jambos at the end of last season, he said he was keen to remain in Scotland and, potentially, at Accies.
However, the club were unable to strike a deal with Popescu amid uncertainty surrounding head coach Stuart Taylor and he has opted to return to his home land, signing a two-year deal with Gheorghe Hagi’s Farul Constanta in Liga 1.
Gutted Want, whose side play their first pre-season friendly this afternoon at home to Larne, said: “Everybody knows Pops was an important player for us.
“But he wasn’t just a good player, he was a good guy in the dressing room as well and got on well with everybody.
“It’s just a shame he couldn’t get a deal here, but I’m sure he will be happy elsewhere and he’ll kick on.”
On it potentially opening the door for him, he added: “You never know. There could be more players coming in [in that position] and you’ve always got competition for places.
“That’s been the case every season here so I just need to focus on myself and make sure I’m in my best shape to play, if selected.”
There has been no new faces through the door at Accies yet, with the start of competitive action on July 9 closing in.
Accies head to Dundee in their Premier Sports Cup opener and Want added: “We’ve still got a good squad from last year here and it’s still early doors.
“We will be focusing on ourselves as players to be ready for the start of the season and if new people come in, we’ll take it as it comes.”
Today’s clash with Larne at New Douglas Park is a 1pm kick-off. Admission is by cash at turnstiles, with Adults £10, U18 and O65 £5.