Wednesday 7th July 2021
Royal Wootton Bassett Town manager Sam Collier has retained six key players from last season's squad – among them goalkeeper Harrison Ellis and impressive young winger Zac Skinner – as his side continue their preparations for the 2021-22 season.
Also re-signing are last season's top scorer TJ Bohane, club stalwarts Adam Corcoran and Gio Wrona and experienced defender Jon Beeden.
Keeping hold of Ellis was one of Collier's most important tasks over the summer. Alongside fellow ever-present Sam Ockwell, Ellis starred for Bassett last season, producing a number of important saves – including in the penalty shootout as his side upset Cinderford Town in the Emirates FA Cup – as well as a string of man of the match performances.
Commenting on his signing, the Bassett boss said: "In my short time in management I have worked with about ten 'keepers – and great ones are very hard to come by. I am therefore over the moon that Harry is back with us as he was different class last season and a huge reason we did so well in the FA Cup."
Skinner, meanwhile, will be hoping to nail down a starting slot on the wing. After joining from Shrivenham early in the campaign, he went on to appear twelve times for Bassett. Although not scoring, the quick, tricky wide man impressed when given a chance and contributed a handful of assists.
"Zac is a huge young talent who we were delighted to bring in last season," Collier said. "We are very excited to work with him again due to the qualities that he brings and we have high hopes that he'll perform to a high level."
The four other players who have again committed to Bassett bring both experience and quality.
Despite missing a number of games through injury, frontman Bohane still managed to head the scoring charts for Bassett in 2019-20 as he netted eleven times in fifteen games. An unselfish player who is always willing to put his body on the line and pressure defenders, he played an important role in his side's record-equalling FA Cup run, scoring three goals – including a crucial header against Cinderford that got Bassett back into the First Qualifying round tie.
Overall, across 65 games for the club Bohane has scored 38 times – a tally that the forward will be looking to build upon further.
Corcoran and Wrona are Bassett's current longest-serving players. Entering his ninth season with the club, powerful centre-half Corcoran has 222 appearances to his name and will be pushing to retain his slot starting alongside Ockwell, who he formed a highly effective partnership with last season. Wrona, a classy, consistent midfield operator, will be starting his fifth season in blue and yellow and will be seeking to add to his 139 appearances – a tally that has yielded 17 goals, including four in 2019-20.
Meanwhile, Beeden adds further strength to Bassett's back line and offers great versatility given his ability to play at either full back or centre half. The former Swindon Supermarine and Chippenham Town defender featured ten times in 2019-20, making nine starts.
Bassett continue their preparations for the Hellenic League Premier Division campaign with their third pre-season training sessions on Thursday (7-8.30pm, Gerard Buxton Sports Ground) before hosting Wiltshire League side Lambourn Sports in their opening friendly on Saturday (4pm kick off).Last modified on Wednesday 7th July 2021 at 09:18.