CARL Ruffer has been carpeted and fined two weeks wages by Chester City after walking out on the team just before kick-off against Shrewsbury on Tuesday.
The central defender was unhappy he had been named only as a substitute and refused to play, forcing manager Mark Wright to make a last-minute change by naming striker Michael Twiss instead and leaving himself without defensive cover.
Said Wright: 'His attitude as a professional footballer who is being paid good money was not right. He let the other players down and until he apologises to them and the chairman, he will not be a part of us.'
Ruffer, who has been a regular this season in the absence of other central defenders Phil Bolland and Scott Guyett through injury, has turned up for training as usual since the incident - but up to yesterday morning there had been no apology.
There was talk of the former Runcorn player being unsettled at the Deva on resumption of training following the summer break, but Wright said at the time they were giving the player 'some leeway' while he sorted himself out.
Wright confirmed yesterday he is prepared to let two or three players go and there is bound to be speculation that Ruffer could be among them.
'We will unload players but they won't be going anywhere for nothing,' he said. 'If we can move players on, we may be able to bring in someone else, but he would have to be better than what we have at the moment.'
The City boss has strengthened by bringing in striker Darryn Stamp for an undisclosed fee from Northampton Town, and he made his debut in the 2-1 defeat at Exeter and scored the first goal in Tuesday's 2-1 victory against Shrews-bury.
'Stamp will give us a lot,' he said. 'He brings people into play and he is inventive. When Daryl Clare and Guyett are fit again, we will be very strong and I will be a lot happier. We have made a decent start but it could have been a fantastic start. We should have won at Stevenage and Exeter.
'We certainly felt hard done by in both these games and I suppose we have been feeling a bit sorry for ourselves, but we picked ourselves up against Shrewsbury and I thought we deserved our victory.
'We have started the season well and achieved a lot. We are a young side and if we can keep improving, we will give ourselves a fighting chance.
'Now we have Stamp, we can throw balls into the box and he can cause havoc if teams want to sit back against us. This is what we missed last season and until he came along this season. I am very pleased.'
For tomorrow's trip to Gravesend and Northfleet, Chester will include skipper Andy Harris (broken hand) who was on the bench on Tuesday and played in Wednesday's 2-0 victory for the reserves against Leigh RMI.
Added Wright: 'We expect a tough game on Saturday but, having said that, there are no easy games in the Conference.
'Gravesend will be tough. They have not had a good start, so I expect they will have a point to prove.'
* Chester reserves won 6-2 at Workington last Saturday in a Lancashire League match.
* Chester meet Halifax at the Deva Stadium on Wednesday (2pm) in the FA Youth Cup.