JOHN Coleman knows he has lost a 'special talent' in Gary Roberts but he predicts the Reds will not suffer.
Star man Roberts signed on loan for Championship side Ipswich Town in a shock move on Tuesday until January with a view to a permanent move then.
"Gary goes with our best wishes and we would not stand in his way," said Coleman of the 22-year-old, who has scored eight goals for the Reds this season.
"It is a great move for him. The deal has been on and off for a while but they made a concrete offer for him on Tuesday.
"I know the fans will be disappointed, I am disappointed and some of the players are disappointed.
"But life goes on and, if it didn't, Brett Ormerod would still be playing here.
"You have got to let players progress and it sends out a message to the current players. It gives them a carrot to dangle, for them to go on and get more success by playing well for us.
"Gary has got a very special talent. He has been instrumental in where we are now by his performances last season.
"If we can groom another couple of players to go onto the Championship, it is great. It is my job to replace them and try and replace them as cheaply as possible."
Coleman added they had been proved right not letting Roberts go to Yeovil in the summer when the League One side made a £50,000 bid for him.
"We thought the initial Yeovil offer was an insult but the lad wanted to go on and play at a higher level," said Coleman.
"They didn't up it to what we wanted, and we weren't asking for a fortune, and I would like to think if he goes in January it will be a lot higher than what Yeovil were offering which will make our decision not to let him go in the summer prudent.
"There have been things put in place to safeguard ourselves one way or another depending on what happens in January."
Many fans have spoken out about their shock at top scorer Roberts going and wondering if it will have an adverse affect on the team who are currently ninth in the table and on a seven game unbeaten league run.
Coleman has every confidence it won't.
"We lost Anthony Barry at a crucial point last year and it didn't upset us. I have got a strong set of lads here.
"We also lost Lee McEvilly and Rory Prendergast and, going back even further, Gary Williams. This club will go on long after we have gone and we just have to keep trying to progress. There is talent out there and it is my job to find it and help it flourish. I will look everywhere as you never know where you can find someone."
And he paid respect to Roberts who he has watched develop as a player.
The Liverpudlian was rejected by Liverpool, didn't make it at Crewe, played in the Welsh League and then burst onto the scene at Accrington in the Conference winning season and made his mark.
"Gary has progressed over the last couple of years. He wasn't the finished article by any means when he came here and he has come on a lot.
"We have to take some credit for that but you have got to give credit to the lad. He has knuckled down, developed his game and added more to his game.
"Goals are a special commodity and if anyone scores goals, people will sit up and take notice.
"And if anyone, in any walk of life, is offered a massive promotion you are going to take it. If you are going to stump players you won't get what I get out of my players. I get total honesty out of them and I believe in them and they trust me.
"I believe if you show them that respect, you get the rewards on the pitch and up to now, in my seven years here, I have had a great response."