THACKLEY have been dealt a blow ahead of the new Toolstation Northern Counties East League Premier Division season, after the departure of talented attacking midfielder Albert Ibrahimi.

He is going to be making the step up to a higher level, after agreeing to join Pontefract Collieries in the BetVictor Northern Premier League North West Division.

Ibrahimi, who has also played for Garforth Town and had a spell in America in the last few years, netted two league goals in his short stay at Dennyfield, both coming in a 4-3 home win over Hemsworth Miners Welfare on February 8.

However, his best moment arguably came a few days earlier, when he headed home a fine equaliser, as his side stunned higher-tier Ossett United 2-1 to reach the West Riding County Cup semi-finals.

Thackley boss Pat McGuire spoke highly of Ibrahimi while the young prospect was at the club.

And posting on Twitter after Ibrahimi's departure was confirmed, he said: "Sad to see Albi go, but he goes with everyone's best wishes.

"A player with loads of ability and another example of a young @ThackleyAFC player progressing to a higher level. Good luck @AlbertIbraa"