Whitehawk boss Darren Freeman insists patience is the key as he searches for a replacement for Tommy Fraser.

Former Albion midfielder Fraser played his final game for Hawks last Saturday before moving to Australia to sign for Melbourne Knights.

The 25-year-old has been a key figure this season as Whitehawk have led the pack in Ryman premier in their first season at that level.

Freeman would love to keep them at the summit and secure a third promotion in four seasons for the 2010 County League champions.

But he will not panic in his search for extra midfield cover, particularly with Joe Keehan fit again after a thigh injury and Paul Armstrong also back in the fray to complete with recent signing Inderjeet Aujla for a place in the middle of the park.

Freeman has seen one move for a midfielder from a rival Ryman premier club fall through because Hawks could not afford the player.

He said: “It is no secret that I have been looking for a central midfielder but it has to be the right person and has to have the right quality to help get us over the line.

“Tommy was a good player and will be hard to replace. Anyone coming in would have to tick all the right boxes. There is no point bringing someone in who wouldn’t do the job Tommy did for us and then we would have to change the way we play.

“I’m not doing that and that’s why I’m making sure if I sign someone he is the right one for us.”

Although Whitehawk have a nine-point lead at the top of Ryman premier, all the chasing pack have games in hand.