Buxton manager Martin McIntosh says the club has been deprived of a great talent following the tragic death of midfielder Ethan Hedley.
The 19-year-old, who had made a handful of appearances for the Bucks first team, was killed in a road accident near Doncaster on Friday night.
He was deemed to be a big part of McIntosh’s plans as the Buxton boss prepares for next season, and the Scotsman was left devastated by the news.
He said: “It’s absolutely tragic. Ethan had great potential and is a player my assistant Tim Ryan and I rated highly.
“He’d trained with the first team on a number of occasions and featured in a few of the games, so as you can imagine the whole squad is shocked by what has happened.
“He was definitely one for the future and was someone we were looking to introduce gradually into the fold.
“He came to our attention when he was playing for the college team Tim coaches in Doncaster, and when he played against the Thomas Rotherham College where I do some coaching he was one of the stand out players on the pitch, hence us bringing him to Buxton.
“It’s awful for his family and our thoughts are with them.”
The Bucks players were made aware of the tragedy before Saturday’s win over Hyde, with McIntosh pleased that his side were able to pay tribute with three points.
He said: “It was a tough day but I was pleased we got the win. I felt if anything we should have got four or five goals as we dominated the game and had conditions been better in front of goal then the win would have been a lot more comfortable.”
Hyde were subsequently relegated in midweek after losing to Nantwich on Monday and then other results going against them on Tuesday, joining Colwyn Bay and Ramsbottom United as three of the four relegated clubs.
McIntosh was unable to attend Tuesday night’s 2-0 defeat to Frickley, but told the Advertiser: “It was a shame to lose the game because we’d been on such a good run, but individual errors proved costly and we were punished.”
Buxton will still have a say in the play-off battle as their final game of the season will be at Workington on Saturday.
The Cumbrians sit a point outside the top five and will need to win against Buxton and hope other results go their way if their campaign is to continue as it did last season when they were beaten play-off semi-finalists.
Buxton, meanwhile, are unlikely to finish higher than tenth, being three points behind Barwell who have a far superior goal difference.