TWO new signings make their home debuts for Cirencester against in-form Bridgwater Town at the Corinium Stadium this afternoon.
Goalkeeper David Evans, 25, takes the step up in grade having been prised away from Slimbridge in the Hellenic Premier while ex-Witney defender Ricky Allaway, 29, renews his centre back partnership with Jon Beeden after making his first start in the 3-0 away defeat at Poole Town last week.
“We have been struggling to replace Matt Sysum and using the youngsters,” said Town boss Brian Hughes.
“Even when we were in the play-off places, we had a negative goal difference, which was something I needed to address.
“We moved quickly for Ricky after the upheaval at Witney when both the manager and chairman left.
“Sam Collier knew him at Abingdon and recommended him. He has plenty of experience, is a good talker, and seems as keen as mustard.
“Having Ricky allows us to push Chris Thompson in front of the back four and bolster the midfield.”
Hughes admitted he had been tracking the highly-rated Evans ever since Matt Bath decided to retire earlier in the season.
“We asked Forest Green goalkeeping coach Kev Phillips about possible targets and he mentioned Evans.
“He has been at Slimbridge for some time and was reluctant to leave, but he has now decided he wanted to step up a level with us.
“Lee Clatworthy did so well after stepping up from the Development Team that I thought we might not need a replacement for Bathy.
“But like any young keeper he has made a couple of mistakes and I wanted to take him out of the firing line. He still has a big future at this club.”
Another FGR connection prompted the loan move of winger George Washbourne to the Centurions.
“I talked to Dave Hockaday when Forest Green were using the Arena for training and he suggested we could have George on loan,” said Hughes.
“The lad is only 18 and is learning his trade, but he is beginning to find his feet with us.”
Ciren face the division’s in-form team today with the visit of Bridgwater, who have won their last five league games, three of them on the road.
And the hosts may be without two key players because new captain Jamie Reid and striker Sam Collier are both struggling to shake off injuries in time.
“I am looking for a reaction on Saturday because our recent defeats to both Paulton and Poole were a bit powder puff,” said Hughes, who has added former Fairford Town reserve team manager Mark ‘Mutley’ Saunders to his coaching team, while Kevin Willetts continues to focus on the search for new players, with a striker top of his wish list.