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Ashford Strengthens Stansted Squad

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Essex Senior League club Stansted have announced the signings of Brad James, Connor Peters, Tom Lakin and Jack Hayes.

New manager Mark Ashford said: “It’s excellent news for the club that we have been able to capture these four young talented footballers and they, with the players we already have, gives us an exciting squad that can give any team in the Essex Senior League a game.

“It will take us a while to get everyone bedded into how I want us to play but teams will know they’ve been in a game with us once we do. Add these four young players to the likes of Connor Martin, who had a lengthy spell with Colchester United and Sam Ashford, who spent five years in Spurs academy, then we have a great group of young hungry players with huge potential who just needed someone to give them an opportunity to player senior first-team football week in week out, which is vital to their development at 19/20 years of age.

“Added to these group of young players we have some really good players that makes it an exciting group for me to work with. For example, in my opinion, we have the best keeper in the league in Reece Paine. Our skipper Tom Le Masurier is second to none and I wouldn’t swap him for any midfield player in the league. Dave Ratcliffe had time at Gillingham to show his potential and even though he is only just returning from a lengthy absence due to injury, I could see from his movement and the runs he was making in the match against Sporting Bengal that once he is fully fit he will be an excellent player for us. That’s just mentioned a few from a number of many players at the club I could mention so I’m excited about what we can all do together.”

Brad James has been in Heybridge Swifts’ first-team squad for a while now and has been unfortunate not to have been given a run in the team.

Ashford added: “He spent considerable time with Colchester’s academy which only highlights his ability. He is the most two-footed player I’ve ever worked with and as a result is comfortable playing in many positions across the back four as well as midfield.

“Tom Lakin was also in the first-team squad at Heybridge and was previously was with me at Bishop`s Stortford. He is a powerful quick forward who has regularly scored goals and also has a tremendous work effect. He’s currently coming back from a two week lay-off due to injury so we’ll have to ease him back in but he will be a real asset to the team.

“Connor Peters is a player with fantastic potential and as recently as this August he played in a World Cup qualifier for his country Antigua & Barbuda in Mexico City in front of 15,000 supporters!

“The previous season to last he was in Swansea City’s academy playing in their under-19s. Last season he was with me at Bishop`s Stortford and played in the first-team several times in the Vanarama National League South and this season he played numerous times for Heybridge’s first-team in the Ryman North.

“He was unfortunate in that he had to do national service for his county abroad during the whole of pre-season so missed the boat with a number of clubs. He is a very quick athletic technically gifted left footed player and is comfortable in any position down the left hand side.

“Jack Hayes has been with me now for about five or six seasons now and has improved everywhere he has played. He has been with Heybridge’s first-team squad this season and has been unfortunate not to be give more chances to play. He is one of the most committed players I’ve ever worked with and gives everything for his team, won’t shy away from any challenge and is very good in the air which makes him an asset in both boxes.”

All four players are registered and available for this Saturday’s home match with Burnham Ramblers, although Lakin’s recovery from injury will prevent him making his debut for a week or two.

Going in the opposite direction, the club can confirm that both Oliver Fortune and Billy Turner have asked to be released.


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