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Harvey's anger as Clist joins Oxford

By This is Gloucestershire  |  Posted: February 03, 2009

Simon Clist has departed the New Lawn for Oxford United

Simon Clist has departed the New Lawn for Oxford United

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FOREST GREEN are reeling from the loss of Simon Clist to Oxford United.

The 27-year-old midfielder completed a move to the Kassam Stadium last night after making it clear he saw his long-term future there.

With Clist out of contract and available on a free transfer in the summer, Rovers' board of directors felt obliged to accept a late cash offer for one of their most consistent performers.

But manager Jim Harvey is frustrated at losing a key player for the second January running, having seen Mark Beesley defect to Cambridge United for an undisclosed fee 12 months ago.

Harvey said: "It's fair to say I'm not happy to lose Simon at this stage, but it was a good deal for the club and unfortunately money talks.

"Simon is a lovely fella, and I wish him well, but it's left a hole in the squad."

Clist has signed a 2½-year contract with his hometown club but will be ineligible to play against Rovers on March 7 due to a clause in the deal.

He said: "I'm sorry to leave Forest Green but I couldn't turn down an offer like this and the security it brings.

"I have a lot to thank Jim Harvey and the club for and I won't forget that."

Subject to a noon pitch inspection, Rovers entertain the Blue Square Premier's surprise package Histon tonight (7.45pm). Defender Lee Ayres is fit again but Alex Lawless is suspended.

Meanwhile, the Nailsworth strugglers have been handed the toughest possible draw in the quarter-finals of the FA Trophy.

Following three straight home ties against lower ranked opposition, they must get past competition favourites Stevenage Borough at Broadhall Way to keep their Wembley dream alive.

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