Morford and Liddiard boost Town on eve of new season
CIRENCESTER TOWN boss Brian Hughes has boosted his squad by signing Gloucester City hitman Will Morford and fellow Tiger, Matt Liddiard - on the eve of the new season.
Morford, a former Gloucester City Player of the Year, is already familiar with surroundings at the Corinium Stadium – he works as assistant to Steve Lowndes at the Cirencester College Academy.
The striker scored in the Tigers' 4-1 friendly success over Ciren last week.
With Hughes’ star midfielder Ben Wells about to have surgery on a knee injury and out for the season, Liddiard will be a welcome addition to the Ciren squad in the centre of the park.
Following the close-season capture of Chris Holland, Steve Davies and Lee Smith, the Town dressing room now boasts five recent Gloucester City players.
"Will is going to dual-register and come to us for at least a month while he gets fit after recovering from an op," said Hughes. "He needs games and we were looking to freshen things up among the strikers. When this opportunity came up, it was too good a chance to miss.
"Matt is young, enthusiastic and a grafter and is also coming to us on dual-registration forms.
"It is often the case that you can do your best shopping in the last week or two before the season starts when players suddenly become available, and I hope that has been the case here."
Going in the other direction is Ciren midfielder Sam Packer who is signing for Corinium Stadium tenants Wootton Bassett Town of the Hellenic League in order to get some game time. And last season’s top scorer Sam Collier may also temporarily have to move elsewhere in order to get in a starting line-up. Hughes, meanwhile, is by no means rattled by five defeats in the club's seven warm-up games.
"It was hard to get a handle on our friendlies because the ones against Cheltenham Town, Swindon Town and Forest Green Rovers (all narrow, respectable defeats) were designed to make money for the club," he said.
It was completely out of character, however, when the normally frugal Town defence let in four goals in the second half against Gloucester City, although they finished their pre-season schedule with a clean sheet and a 3-0 victory at Fairford Town.
"I'm glad the hiccup with Gloucester came in pre-season," said Hughes. "Two of the goals came from corners and another from a throw-in, at a time when Leigh Henry was carrying an injury.
"It is safe to say that we will be doing a lot of work in the final week on our defending at set pieces. We have put in seven or eight weeks of hard toil and now is the time to see whether it is all worth it.
"We have the toughest start ever with a visit to Tiverton (Saturday), while we host Bridgwater Town a week later, both of whom have spent money. And Evesham, who we play on Tuesday, with their ex-Ciren players, will always want to prove a point.
"At the end of last season we had a team which was very competitive in this league and difficult to beat.
"I think that is going to be the case again. And we have since added signings which give us much more potency going forward."