CIRENCESTER TOWN will have to do without their top goal scorer Lee Smith in the forthcoming 2014/15 Southern Premier League season after the prolific striker opted to sign a one-year deal with rivals Hungerford Town of the same division.
Smith scored 38 goals in Town’s recent successful league and cup campaigns and was hugely instrumental in the club winning the Calor Division One South & West title.
The championship was only confirmed by their last-day success at Yate Town when they came from a goal behind.
“I’m leaving Cirencester Town on good terms as they are a great bunch of lads and Hughesie (manager Brian Hughes) is a top bloke – but it was an offer I could not turn down,” said Smith.
“I talked to both Hungerford Town manager Bobby Wilkinson and the chairman Steven Skipworth and their ambition for the club was infectious.
“Hungerford only missed out on a play-off place on goal difference and they are clearly going to be a team challenging at the top of the division again.
“They have kept the core of their successful squad from last season and they have already added some high quality signings like midfielder Michael Pook, full back Aaron Brown and striker Josh Parsons, all three with experience at Swindon Town.
“They have a realistic budget to challenge for the Southern Premier title. Without being disrespectful to Cirencester Town I don’t think they have the budget to be challenging at the top and I am a very ambitious person.
“I have scored goals at Southern Premier level in the past and I feel I am a better player than the last time I was in that division.
“I got myself really fit and sharp last pre-season and it paid dividends. I plan to land running again next season.”
Smith is nonetheless convinced that Cirencester Town will continue to do well following their promotion – even without his goals.
“So long as they keep their best players like Leigh Henry, Ben Wells and the goalkeeper Glyn Garner they will continue to do very well, I am sure," said Smith.
“And there are young players coming through who can do a good job up front. Aidan Bennett is a good player and has become much more consistent, while Joe Shepherd is another extremely promising youngster."
THERE has already been a change to the constitution of the previously announced Southern Premier League list of teams. Stourbridge FC and Halesowen Town switch to the Northern Premier League and are replaced by Corby Town as well as Hayes and Yeading United.