LET’S have it right – nobody would have expected Luke Duffy to remain at Warrington Town for the rest of his career.

Indeed, it would probably have been considered a surprise if he saw out the season at Cantilever Park given the burgeoning reputation he was carving out for himself.

In what is a small but hugely talented squad, Duffy was among the jewels in their crown and had he continued to shine at National League North level, he was surely destined to follow players like Ben Garrity, Matty Grivosti and Teddy Mfuni before him in earning a move to the Football League.

Even now, it is understood there were several EFL clubs already showing signs of serious interest in the forward, whose fancy feet have bedazzled crowds and bewildered defenders for three seasons.

His career was only going one way, which will make his decision to move back into the Northern Premier League an incredibly difficult one for everyone at Town – from the boardroom through to the terraces – to stomach.

And while only Duffy himself will be able to say whether or not this is truly his motivation, it is natural for people to jump to the conclusion that his decision to join Macclesfield - a club with resources that far outstrip most other clubs at their level and those above, including Town - is a financial one rather than a footballing one.

Even if that was the case, he would not be the first nor the last player to move clubs for that reason – the influx of top stars to Saudi Arabia this summer tells you that much – and on a purely human level, who wouldn't have their head turned by the offer of a significant hike in pay to do a job they knew they could already do very well?

A career in football is a short one and nobody can be blamed for wanting to make hay while the sun shines, so to speak.

With the Silkmen seemingly primed to rise quickly through the leagues given their significant financial backing, Duffy may also feel his return to Step Three will only be a temporary one and given they currently operate with a "hybrid" training model - a halfway house between part-time and full-time football - it does represent a chance to dedicate more time to his craft.

That said, if his true aim is to play at the highest level possible, he may have moved more towards cutting that option off for himself.

If EFL teams continue to sniff around, would any be willing or indeed able to match or better the wages he will be paid at Macclesfield? And if he remains at Moss Rose for the long haul, it will take at least three seasons including this one for them to reach League Two.

And all of this does not mean this move will be any less galling for Yellows, who have just lost a star player at an incredibly inopportune moment just one game into what was sure to be an incredibly testing season regardless.

It puts another dent in a squad that is already looking stretched – Josh Amis, Jay Harris and Jordan Buckley all struggling with injuries while Grivosti and Dec Walker are in the early stages of recovery having had their own fitness issues during pre-season.

There is, of course, the possibility that some of the recompense they have received for Duffy's services being re-invested in a replacement, but players of his ilk do not grow on trees and more pertinently, they do not come cheap.

Promotion and last week’s 4-0 opening-day thrashing of Southport was sure to bring a carnival atmosphere to Cantilever Park tomorrow when Blyth Spartans visit for the first National League North home game and while that will still be the case, news of Duffy’s departure will take some air out of the balloon.

In the end, Town had no choice but to bow to Duffy’s wishes and let him leave, but they cannot be blamed for feeling disappointed and more than a little let down.