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Ashford United manager Tommy Warrilow says new signing Gus Barnes is one of the most exciting prospects in Kent

Ashford manager Tommy Warrilow believes he’s landed one of the most exciting prospects in Kent.

The Nuts & Bolts have signed 18-year-old forward Gus Barnes, who finished last season at Whitstable.

Ashford United manager Tommy Warrilow Picture: Ian Scammell
Ashford United manager Tommy Warrilow Picture: Ian Scammell

He appeared in Saturday’s 4-3 friendly defeat by Potters Bar and again on Tuesday night when Ashford beat Eastbourne United 3-0.

The teenager has talent in abundance and Warrilow, while not wanting to put any pressure on him, intends to help him unlock it.

“I think he’s one of the most exciting prospects in Kent,” said Warrilow.

“You normally hear of the 18-year-olds coming through, but I don’t know of any others in Kent who’ve got what he’s got.

“He’s got a lot of attributes we can work with and he’s definitely got the potential to push on.

“You can see the skill he’s got and his pace is frightening - you can’t buy pace like that.

“If we can channel his game, with and without the ball, and get him enjoying his football, it’ll be a good season for him and for us.”

Barnes impressed playing for Whitstable against the Nuts & Bolts last season.

When the chance to sign him came up, Warrilow didn’t hang about.

He said: “I know the person who looks after him, and we get on well.

“When I got the call, straight away it was, ‘Yes, get him in’.

“We had a good chat, he came in and he’s a really nice kid with a good family wrapped around him.

“I’m grateful we got the call because I didn’t know he was available.

“We were half-interested last year, after he played well against us, but to have him this year is a bonus.

“He’s with us for the season and, if he’s not, I hope that’s because he’s pushed on somewhere else.”

Warrilow is equally pleased with his other new signing, midfielder Olumide Oluwatimilehin, from Maldon & Tiptree.

The 25-year-old has played National South football at Braintree and counts Wingate & Finchley and AFC Hornchurch among his previous clubs.

“I think he’ll make a big difference to us,” said Warrilow.

“We only gave him 45 minutes against Potters Bar but he showed how strong and powerful he is.

“He can win the ball and drive with the ball and he looks for the ball as well.

“Luckily enough, he knows Bradley Simms (Ashford full-back), which helps, but I just told him how it was and how I thought coming to us would benefit him.

“We’re a club who’ve been in two play-off finals, we’re not there to make the numbers up, we’re looking to push the door open.

“You do that with quality signings and he’ll be a good fit. Please, God, we have a good season, and do go up, and he can be part of that journey.

“We’re still looking for one or two players but signing Olu helps with that because people know him, they think, ‘What’s happening at Ashford?’ and that creates a different audience and opens a few doors.”

Ashford meet Homelands tenants Kennington in a 1pm kick-off on Saturday.

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