Barnet boss Martin Allen says Tom Champion has not moved out on loan because of a groin injury to Bira Dembele, but has refused to rule out the possibility of leaving on loan in the future.

The 29-year-old midfielder-cum-defender had been set to leave The Hive on a temporary basis this week after Allen revealed there had been interest in the former Cambridge United captain.

However, Champion did not move out on loan and was back on the bench for the visit of Dagenham & Redbridge today.

Asked afterwards why Champion had not moved away on loan, Allen said: “Tom is a good player. But Bira (Dembele) is struggling with a little injury so Tom can’t go out on loan at the moment.

“Six clubs wanted him and three of them were league clubs.”

Asked if he would allow the Barnet-born midfielder to move out on loan once Dembele was fit again, he replied: “Yes. He wants to play games and he is a really good player and a good lad.

“I was going to put him on near the end but Yids (Andy Yiadom) got a knock. He is a good bloke, Tom Champion. You don’t become captain of a Division Two team and play 46 games by being a rotten player.

“I have had to say to him he can’t go out on loan, he has to stay. There is a good chance he is going to play one of the games this week and that will be his chance to go in, like Michael Nelson has done today, and play really well.”

Dembele will miss Tuesday's trip to Plymouth Argyle with injury but Allen was unable to put a timeframe on the French defender's return to fitness.

He said: "Bira has a sore inner groin so he can’t play.

"He is going home to France tomorrow to see his family - he has not seen them for a couple of months. He is coming back on Wednesday and will be back in on Thursday and then we will see how he is. He won’t be fit for Tuesday night."

Allen continued: "Michael Nelson has been superb in training and around the dressing room. We have good players here and he played just as I expected.

"All the players like him, he’s very well respected within the group and I’m lucky to be able to call on good players like him, Champion, Aaron McLean, Michael Gash and very soon hopefully we will have Kevin Lisbie and Graham Stack available."