Andy Peaks sees Sam Brown as a “future captain” of AFC Rushden & Diamonds after it was confirmed the full-back will be taking a break from playing to travel abroad.
Brown is set to make his 157th appearance for Diamonds in their first game of 2016 when they take on Arlesey Town at the Dog & Duck in the Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central on Saturday.
But he will then depart to travel the world, although boss Peaks insists the left-back will remain registered with the club and will be welcomed back as and when he returns to the country.
Brown, who featured in the 2-1 Boxing Day success at Bedford Town, has been with Diamonds since playing in their first senior game back in 2012 having previously played for AFC Kempston Rovers.
And Peaks said: “Of course it’s a shame to lose Sam. He has been immense from the very reformation of the club, but he’s a young man and wants to see a bit of the world and we wouldn’t stand in anyone’s way.
“He knows he’s very welcome to come back when he returns, whenever that is
“He is not leaving the club on a permanent basis – he will remain registered with us.
“Hopefully he’ll miss us too much and come back, perhaps as soon as the start of next season.
“Sam Brown has epitomised everything that’s good about the club – he’s been outstanding – whoever plays in his place will find it hard to step into his shoes.
“He’s been brilliant and we wish him well. I see him as a possible future captain of the club.”
Peaks has moved to bring in potential replacements for Brown in recent weeks after Connor Kennedy joined Diamonds on loan from Corby Town while left-back Luke Hipwell arrived from Wisbech Town.