Heacham announce retained players from last season

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It has been a busy week for Heacham boss Paul Hunt as he pieces together his squad ahead of the new Thurlow Nunn Premier Division season.Hunt has retained the services of a string of key players who helped the club to their highest-ever level of football last summer.Last season was very much a learning curve for the club and the Magpies chief feels the squad will only improve for the experience as they look to build on an 18th-place finish in the table.The players who have agreed to re-sign with the club are goalkeeper Aaron Watson, defenders Shane Akers, Liam Mitchell, Harry Cupit, Ben Dear, midfielders George Rawlings, Sam Lammiman and forwards Nathan Davies, Colby Wood, Jack Noble and Tyler Reeve.Four of last season’s playing squad who are unlikely to be returning are Paulius Falcao, Charlie Royle, Owen Gilbert and Tyler Knowles with the latter having already signed for Soham Town Rangers.Midfielder Matt Goss is having some time away from football while Luke Gray is struggling to commit to football due to his work responsibilities.Reflecting on the players who are staying, Hunt said: “Starting with Aaron Watson, he’s a lad who I know from my time at Swaffham. “For me, he’s an outstanding keeper with a great mentality. I watched him play a couple of times last year and he’s top-class and also a leader as well. “It is great to get your goalkeeper in and sorted because that can sometimes be one of the difficult positions.”Shane looks bright and it’s great to have him back in the mix again. He’s come in nice and fit and is enjoying the training.”Liam’s got a little niggle in his knee, so he’s been restricted with his training. Hopefully, it’s nothing too serious because I saw him play last year and he is a real top-class young left-back. “Ben is also staying and that’s fantastic news. I didn’t know too much about him but I’ve seen him in a few sessions now and he is a classy centre-half who is quick and strong with good feet.”George is with the club and he’s someone who is working for the club behind the scenes. “He’s a really good lad, a good footballer and again he has a good mentality.”Sam’s come in with great energy and looks a real workhorse in midfield. “Nathan is going to be a real big player for us. He will go that extra mile and just doesn’t stop. He’s got a hell of an engine on him but he’s also creative and can also finish.”For me, he’s a great lad to have in the mix and he is one of those players who will do anything you ask him to do.”On the remainder of the players, Hunt added: “Colby is a young lad who’s got a lot of potential and in training he’s looked very sharp. He’s a technical player and is quite quick as well.”He wants to do better. He looks like a man when he’s playing, not like a young lad. “Tyler looks as though he’s got a lot of ability. He’s really good on the ball, has a good attitude and is a good athlete. He looks like another one who will work hard when he plays.”Jack is an athletic lad with a lot of pace. I saw him play last year, he presses the opposition, makes the runs and is willing to put his head where it hurts.”Hary is another one who I would put him in the same sort of bracket as Tyler. He is a young lad with a lot of energy who is also comfortable on the ball.”Assistant boss Royce Rawlings remains signed on and available for selection and the Heacham boss is delighted to have him alongside him in the dugout. “I’ve known Royce since he was at King’s Lynn Reserves when I was there,” he said.”Again he’s a top lad and when I heard he was interested in becoming involved with the management side that was fantastic for me because he is a great fit and someone who knows the players that are already here really well.”He has got that right vibe for the dressing room and has such a positive outlook with it. He’s a solid centre-half who I can call upon if I need him.”Hunt has also been busy recruiting new players to improve his squad and team as his side strives for more consistency in 2023/24. Striker Toby Hilliard has already been confirmed as the first summer arrival last week and details on some of the other new faces are expected to be confirmed in the next week or so.Heacham begin their pre-season friendlies with a home game against United League Premier Division South outfit March Town on Saturday (3pm).

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