Wednesday 6th July 2022
Royal Wootton Bassett Town's squad for the 2022-23 Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division campaign has started to take shape, with manager Sam Collier moving early to strengthen across the pitch, while also retaining a number of key players from last season's squad.
The Bassett boss has snapped up goalkeeper Matt Crowther, midfielder Jack Hobson-McVeigh and forward Josh Elms. Crowther, who joins on loan from Hungerford Town, and Elms were both with Shrivenham last season, while Hobson-McVeigh arrives from Malmesbury Victoria, where he has spent the previous two seasons.
Commenting on his signings, Collier said: "I'm delighted to bring in Matty, Jack and Josh and all three are players who will improve the squad we have."
"Both Matt and Josh caught my attention last season playing for Shrivenham."
"Josh is a big, powerful, hard-working, old-fashioned striker who caused us problems last season and I love his work rate. He is certainly a striker which I would class as a rare breed due to him being a target man. And with Alan Griffin moving into my management team, it was important we have a target point to work with Alfie Presley, Bailey Gallagher, Tommy Ouldridge and others."
"With Matty, when he played against us Matt Bulman instantly told me he will be a great 'keeper. He talks well, kicks very well and is brave. He also comes with a great report from Danny Robinson at Hungerford, so it's great to have him on a season-long loan."
"Jack is one we tried to get last season but he decided to stay at Malmesbury. He comes with real pedigree, having played at a high level back home in New Zealand. He fits the bill perfectly for how we want to play as he is a holding midfielder with a huge passing range and a calm head. His dead ball is also very impressive."
In terms of players returning to the club, Collier has retained the services of Bassett's two current longest-serving players with centre half Adam Corcoran – a double Player of the Year award winner in 2021-22 – and midfielder Gio Wrona putting pen to paper for another year. Despite scoring in a cameo appearance for Swindon Town in a 'Legends' charity match against Swindon Supermarine this past Sunday, Wrona was unable to earn a contract with the League Two club and will thus remain with Bassett.
Also back for another season are a trio of exciting young attacking midfielders. Bailey Gallagher and Tommy Ouldridge were two of the team's leading appearance makers in 2021-22, with the former scoring nine times in 44 games last season and the latter netting seven goals in 41 appearances. Alfie Presley, meanwhile, returned to the club late in the season and impressed with four goals in 11 games.
Experienced defenders Dave Bampton – who featured 39 times last season, Scott Chilcott – a consistent performer in the 26 games he played – and Jon Beeden have also signed.
After a weekend off, Bassett's preparations are set to kick up a gear next week with a pair of challenging away friendlies against Hellenic League Division One opposition. First, on Tuesday Collier and his side visit Cirencester Town Development (7.30pm kick off), before a visit to Shortwood United on Saturday 16 July (3pm kick off).Last modified on Wednesday 6th July 2022 at 10:58.