FORMER Welsh International Glyn Garner became the fourth goalkeeper used by Cirencester Town this season when making his debut against Cinderford Town on Saturday – and we are little more than halfway through the campaign.
A series of injuries and departures has left boss Brian Hughes, who is working on a much-reduced budget this term, struggling to field a settled side.
Ciren have used 28 players already, including three previous keepers, Matt Bath, Lee Clatworthy and Dave Evans.
Garner, 36, has made 366 club appearances throughout a distinguished career and earned his sole Welsh cap in 2006 when on the books of Leyton Orient.
“Bringing Glyn in has given me a real boost in a week when I lost both Dave Evans and Ricky Allaway,” said Hughes.
Evans had played just five games for the Centurions following his move from Slimbridge when he alerted Hughes that he did not want to carry on.
“Dave did not seem to be enjoying it and was not settling in,” said the manager.
“I had a feeling something was not right at the Yate game so I made some enquiries about Glyn and I was well placed to move when Dave failed to show up for training on Thursday and texted saying he wanted to move on the following day.”
Garner was able to sign in time to make his debut in the 2-2 home derby with Cinderford Town on Saturday.
In fact, it was not the first time Garner, who played 57 times for his previous club Bath City, had pulled on a Cirencester Town shirt.
“We played Bath twice in pre-season – the second occasion was a behind-closed-doors friendly when Matt Bath was away,” said Hughes.
“We borrowed Glyn for the game and afterwards our lads said they wished he could play for us every week.
“Bath had two goalies and Glyn’s six-month contract was not renewed at the turn of the year.
“He’s tall and commanding and a great communicator. He does not live locally so we will trust him to do his own training and just see him on match days.”
Meanwhile, Allaway’s departure came after Didcot Town made a seven-day approach for the experienced centre back hours after he captained Cirencester against the Oxfordshire club the Saturday before last.
In his brief spell at the club, Allaway – along with loanee Leigh Henry – had tightened up the Cirencester defence considerably.
Hughes is understandably frustrated to lose his third club captain of the season, following Matt Sysum’s switch to Evesham and Jamie Reid’s broken leg.
“Ricky lives in Reading, so Didcot would be more convenient for him,” said Hughes. “But it all comes down to money and Didcot have made him an offer that was too good to refuse.”
Hughes is hoping Maidenhead United give him the green light to extend Henry’s loan to the maximum 91 days.
“Leigh is getting games and seems to be enjoying himself,” said the boss. “His contract runs out at Maidenhead in the summer and bringing him in was always with the idea of trying to entice him to come on board next season.”
There has been some cheer for Hughes in the return to goal scoring form of Sam Collier, who has now scored three in two games since returning from injury, and the improved recent displays by Sam Packer.
“Packs is a striker by default,” admitted Hughes, “but he worked his tail off against Cinderford and with some work on his finishing he could be a prospect.”