» Robins sign for­mer Brighton mid­fielder Ro­han Ince

Gloucestershire Echo - - FRONT PAGE - Robert ILES [email protected]­plc.com

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

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