» Robins sign former Brighton midfielder Rohan Ince
CHELTENHAM Town have signed former Brighton midfielder Rohan Ince. The 6ft 4in 26-year-old becomes the Robins’ fourth new signing of the summer following defender Charlie Raglan and front men Tahvon Campbell and Reuben Reid.
London-born Ince started his career at Chelsea, joining them at the age of seven and signing his first professional contract in 2010.
He spent time on loan at Gary Johnson’s Yeovil Town and made his League debut for the Glovers in 2012 before signing for Brighton and playing regularly in the Championship.
He appeared against Cheltenham in the first round of the League Cup at the Amex in August 2014, when the Seagulls ran out 2-0 winners.
Ince also appeared on loan for Fulham, Swindon and Bury during his six years at Brighton.
He missed the whole of last season with a knee injury, but has undergone rigorous fitness tests ahead of putting pen to paper with the Robins.
Boss Michael Duff was keen to strengthen his midfield, with Nigel Atangana and Kevin Dawson leaving to join Exeter City and Forest Green respectively after turning down new deals with the Robins.
Tom Smith was placed on the transfer list and has signed a two-year deal with Bath City, while the loan spells of Jordan Tillson and Jacob Maddox both ended at the end of last season.
That left Duff with Chris Clements and Conor Thomas as his two main options in the centre of the pitch, with Ryan Broom and first year professional Archie Brennan also able to play there.
Converted from a centre-half into a holding midfielder at Brighton, Ince is the third cousin of former England and Manchester United star Paul Ince and nephew of ex-brighton and Crystal Palace defender Eric Young.
“He’s had a good schooling where he’s come from at Chelsea and had 80 or 90 games for Brighton in the Championship,” Duff said.
“When I played against him he was
the next big thing coming through.
“He’s been a bit unfortunate with his injury last year. We’ve done all the due diligence with regards to testing, seeing specialists, scanning - we think we’ve found a very good player.
“He’s 6ft 4in powerful, but he can play as well. We’re hoping he can add physicality and quality into our midfield.”
Duff is also running the rule over a number of trialists during pre-season training.
Duff, said: “We’ll be looking at as many people as we can.
“The balance has swung. At the end of the season players had all the power.
“Players don’t want to miss pre-season so we’re speaking to players who five weeks ago were asking for X amount of money and now they’re prepared to take a different amount because they realise they’re getting the season started now.
“Luke Varney didn’t have a club in September last year. There’s some good players that don’t have clubs at the minute.”
“It’s constantly evolving. You go for a player, you get outbid for somebody or they decide to go somewhere else, you move on.
Duff is looking at the possibility of loans as well permanent signings.
“The loans usually don’t happen until later in the window because the bigger clubs want to keep the younger lads in and around it for the first couple of weeks and as the season gets closer they start trimming their squads and work with the first team,” he said.
Cheltenham Town boss Michael Duff