Stevenage manager Steve Evans confirmed that the win over Crawley Town was Saxon Earley's last for the club - after Norwich City sold him to a "very top-end League One club".

The on-loan defender played the full duration of the 3-1 success at the Lamex, a result that helped second-placed Boro close the gap on League Two leaders Leyton Orient to five points.


The full-back has been one of the many reasons for the superb first half of the season, impressing early on with his forward play before developing his defensive talents.

And Evans says it is no surprise he is heading up the pyramid.

The boss said: "Norwich have sold Saxon to a very top-end League One club for a lot of money.

"I’ve just said to the group, he arrived here as a kid but he leaves as a man.

"He’s been absolutely fantastic for us and we all owe a debt to him for how well he’s played for us.

"We hope he plays Championship football next season because he has a job to do when he goes where he goes."

The departure of the 20-year-old is a blow for Stevenage's promotion hopes but Evans has told the fans not to panic as a replacement has already been sourced.

"That one’s already agreed," he said with a typically wry smile.

"I’ve known about Saxon for around 10 days. Dean Smith, before he lost his job, kept me in constant touch with it.

"And we can’t affect the ambition of a young man that deserves to play at the top end of League One and the Championship as his career progresses.

"But we’ve got things almost done on [finding a replacement]." 

One other loanee though is stopping, at least for the moment.

Alex Gilbey has a clause in his loan contract saying Charlton can recall him in January.

But Evans says that the Addicks, who have just appointed a new manager in Dean Holden, aren't currently pursuing that option.

The Boro boss said: "I’m told by the top end at Charlton that Alex is staying with us but that’s never done until it’s done. 

"If that changes, it will be disappointing because he’s been a great character for us and a great player for us. 

"If you look at Charlton’s situation then they probably have to go higher up the pyramid to get players to help them. 

"All of a sudden they are three points off a relegation scrap. 

"So they’re saying he will stay here and he’s delighted with that. 

"He wants to stay but we respect the rights of Charlton until that date passes, which is about a week’s time."

Beefing the squad up is priority for Stevenage and aside from Earley's replacement, Evans says the club will move forward in January, although the approach is more surgical than scattergun.

He said: "We hope to add to the group but it will be like, if I can describe it, as a rifle recruitment. 

"It’ll be players I want to bring in and our chairman has been wholly supportive. 

"If we get them, it’s great because we’re in the balance with others, but if we don’t get them, then we’ll move our rifle in a different direction."