Southern Yate Town captain Hitchings poised to leave club
YATE Town manager Paul Britton is facing up to the prospect of losing club captain Charlie Hitchings after the Evo-Stik Division One South leaders received an approach from Paulton Rovers.
Paulton boss John Rendell, who used to be Britton’s assistant at Yate, put in seven days’ notice for Hitchings and with the defender having lost his place in the first team to Sam Boulton the move looks like being completed in time for Hitchings to make his debut away to Slimbridge tomorrow.
“Charlie’s been brilliant for us and been my club captain but football’s an evolving game and nothing stands still for long,” said Britton. “At the moment Charlie can’t get into the side because when he was suspended Sam Boulton, who was our player and supporters’ player of the year last season, came in and hasn’t put a foot wrong.
“Charlie is obviously disappointed with that and he pulled out of Tuesday’s game at Bristol Manor Farm due to work commitments so I think he’s instigated a move.
“It’s a tough one but you cannot keep everyone happy.”
The approach comes just a week after Yate resisted an attempt by Bristol Manor Farm to lure defender Josh Ford away from Lodge Road. Ford turned down that move and showed again in Tuesday’s 4-2 win at The Creek just why he is an important part in Yate’s brilliant start to the season.
Going into tomorrow’s game at home to bottom club Barnstaple Town Britton’s side are just one of four clubs unbeaten in the league playing at Step 5 and above with a terrific record of seven wins and three draws from their ten games.
“I keep saying to the players to take each game as it comes and we cannot afford to under-estimate Barnstaple as they have won their last two games and scored seven goals in the process,” warned Britton.
With Hitchings heading for the exit Britton has brought in midfielder Will Dawes from League Two side Cheltenham Town on a work-experience deal and the 18-yearold was on the subs bench for the midweek win at Manor Farm.
Nick Peare is suspended after being sent off after two yellows at Totton and Dave Sims-Burgess is not yet ready to return.
With Paulton closing in on Hitchings and last season’s top goal scorer Jack Ball pushing for a place in the starting side, Rendell should have cause for optimism ahead of the trip to Slimbridge.
“Jack played 30 minutes in our win at Fleet last week and on Tuesday at Salisbury (2-0 defeat in the League Cup) so he is push- ing hard and in contention to start the game this weekend,” said Rendell.
“We have missed him without a doubt because we have been creating chances. Had he been playing I reckon he would have had 15 goals by now.”
Mangotsfield United manager Ollie Price is hoping new signing Lewis Ellington will provide some extra firepower to his side after the Chippenham Town striker signed dual registration forms.
“I worked with Lewis when he came here from Bristol Rovers last season and he is the sort of goalscorer we need,” said Price.
“Our performance levels have been pretty decent, but we just aren’t taking enough of our chances.”
Ellington could make his debut away to Bideford this weekend but Clayton Fortune will be suspended after being sent off at Melksham Town last Saturday.
With a free weekend, Manor Farm’s next game is at promotion-chasing Street next Tuesday and manager Lee Lashenko will include new signings Jamie Bird and Alex Russell in the squad - plus he has also brought back defender Martin Stowell.
Bird was recently released from Hereford while Lashenko is hoping that 45-year-old Russell will be able to put his vast experience from a long Football League career, including spells at Bristol City, Cheltenham Town and Yeovil Town, to good use for the club.
Stowell left Manor Farm for Mangotsfield last season after losing his place in the side and this season was playing at Odd Down.
Football’s an evolving game and nothing stands still for long
Charlie Hitchings looks set to leave Yate Town