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Watson Makes Second New Port Signing

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Vanarama National League North club Southport have made their second new signing since Liam Watson returned as manager.

Port have signed 24-year-old central defender Ryan Astles.

The towering 6`4” centre-half spent his junior years at Tranmere Rovers and Chester City before joining Wigan Athletic on a scholarship as a 16-year-old in 2010.

In his second year Astles became captain of the Wigan under-18 side and made several appearances for the reserve side.

He then moved into Welsh football, joining Buckley Town and then Rhyl, where he won the managers` player of the year and players` player of the year awards.

Following a stint at Northwich Victoria, Astles joined Chester in January 2016, and has since made over 100 appearances for the Blues.

He made forty-one National League appearances for Chester in 2017/18.

Astles, who has signed a two-year contract, told https://southportfc.net: “I spoke with the Board. The ambition of the club really drew me in. Seeing all the plans and what the club want to achieve, that was one of the main things. I’m really happy to be joining the club.”

On his aims for the season, Astles added: “Everyone here wants to be pushing for promotion. That’s the main aim. I’ll make sure I give 100% to that, getting the club back to where it wants to be. Personally, for me, the aim has to be clean sheets, but we all want that promotion.”

On the day’s second signing, Liam Watson said: “Ryan is someone who I’ve watched an awful lot of times. He’s a big, dominant fella. He’s a lot younger than people believe he is, so he’s been doing really well playing in the National League since 21.

“He’s played a lot of games, and he’s good in both boxes. He’s left-footed, so there’s a balance at the back.”

Reflecting on his first signings in Astles and goalkeeper Dan Hanford, Watson said: “Well they’re men, aren’t they? They’re not boys, they’re men. They’ve been there, seen it, they know what to expect. They’ve both got physicality. Astles especially, you need a presence. He gives us that. They’ll both be really good signings for the club”.

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