Hughes lures two of his former stars out of retirement
BRIAN HUGHES has lured two of his former captains out of retirement to help Cirencester Town’s first season back in the Southern League Div 1 South and West.
Central defender Chris Thompson, 29, and keeper Matt Bath, 35, were among a mix of old and new faces who returned to training at the Corinium Stadium on Tuesday night.
With a much-reduced budget, it had been thought that Hughes would have to rely on a raft of inexperienced youngsters. To be able to turn to Thompson and Bath, two of his promotion-winning team from three seasons ago, has put a spring in the step of Town’s boss.
“I need to see what budget I have got on the field and I am trying to build a core of players that I know I can trust,” said Hughes.
“Chris Thompson formed a great centre back partnership with Lyndon Tomkins in our promotion year and I never wanted him to go.
“Chris had work issues then, but they have been sorted out and I am delighted to have him back.
“When young Mike Hedges ended last season in such good form I did not think I would have a problem in the goalkeeping department, but he has been offered a work opportunity which is going to prevent him from playing football.
“We had to move quickly and Bathy, who always did a good job for me, has been kind enough to come out of retirement.”
Two of the new faces at training were Ben Wells formerly of Swindon Town and Swindon Supermarine and ex-Abingdon striker Sam Collier.
“Ben is versatile and gets into good positions. He always did well against us in the past,” said Hughes.
“He felt he wasn’t being offered anything at Supermarine and we are happy to have him on board.
“Sam is a striker that I tried to sign last season when he was with Wootton Bassett.
“He subsequently scored 17 league goals in a struggling Abingdon team.”
Matt Sysum and Richard Mansell have returned after their knee surgery and midfielders James Mortimer-Jones and Jamie Reid are again expected to be key players, while the returning young bloods include Paul Banks, Ollie Pitt and Ellis Dunton.
“I have been working on my own so I have told my senior players that they must take on a bit more responsibility and be my eyes and ears” said Hughes.
“Scott Griffin, of course, now has an additional role in the office and he has been a tremendous help to me, sounding out players over the summer.”