By mark Armstrong
Friday, June 27, 2014
Another few pieces of Lowestoft Town’s Conference North jigsaw fell into place this week as three players committed their futures to the Blues.
Sam Gaughran and Ashlee Jones have signed new deals with the Trawlerboys whilst defender Rickie Hayles also put pen to paper on a one-year contract having left AFC Hornchurch.
It means after the initial shock of being switched from the southern division, the Blues have managed to keep the majority of the squad that enjoyed promotion last season.
After several players signed new deals following the civic parade earlier this month it was noted by several fans that Sam Gaughran was not one of them. However, director of football, Craig Fleming, explained the reason behind the delay.
“There was no issue – Sam was just on holiday in Mexico,” he said. “The deal was pretty much agreed before he went but unfortuntately, the club didn’t fancy flying me out there to get the deal done sooner.
“It’s great news for us though, both he and Dan Gleeson were excellent in the back four for us last season.”
The re-signing of Jones also represents a coup for the club. The Southampton academy graduate had initially indicated to Lowestoft he wouldn’t be signing a new contract as he looked to find a route back into the professional game.
However, after seeing a move to an unnamed club fall through, the 26-year-old goalkeeper has agreed to come back to the Trawlerboys. “Ash thought he was going to have a chance at full time football again but that fell through for him,” Fleming added. “It was obviously disappointing for the lad but we are delighted to sign him up again.
“I thought he was fantastic for us last season and was a key reason why we kept so many clean sheets.”
Hayles was part of the Hornchurch side that lost to Lowestoft in the play-off final and Fleming believes he is the ideal man to fill the void left by Curtley Williams’ departure to Luton Town.
“We’ve been looking for a replacement for Curtley,” added Fleming. “Rickie can play anywhere across the backline and I think he’ll be a really valuable member of the squad.”