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Isthmian South East team Ashford United announce the arrival of former Sheppey United man Jono Richardson

By Joe Harbert

Ashford United manager Tommy Warrilow is delighted to have signed Jono Richardson.

The versatile defender, who was Ernie Batten's assistant at Southern Counties Premier Division title-chasing side Sheppey last season and left the club on Sunday, becomes the Nuts & Bolts' fourth signing of the summer after the arrivals of Ben Gorham, Bradley Simms and Bode Anidugbe.

Jono Richardson has signed for Ashford United after leaving Sheppey United on Sunday. Picture: John Westhrop
Jono Richardson has signed for Ashford United after leaving Sheppey United on Sunday. Picture: John Westhrop

With United also keeping the foundations of last season's promotion-chasing squad together ahead of their 2020/21 season, Warrilow says he is feeling confident about his team's prospects as they edge closer to their season-opener which is expected to take place in September.

"With the loss of Matt Bourne, we wanted to bring in some more experience so I started to have a chat with him and I'm delighted that he's agreed to come to us,” he said.

"He's 31 years old, the fittest he's ever been, and one of the final pieces of the jigsaw in terms of the squad, especially as I like to have players who can wear several hats around the pitch.

"So the squad is nicely taking shape to push us up this league - the right players have come along for us and have fitted into our system and we've acted on it, and I'm really happy with that.

"We tried to get Ben in last year and Bradley is a great athlete and a very good player that I've heard good things about prior to him joining.

"So I'm very happy to get those lads.

"It's also quite refreshing to hear that money doesn't count for everything after speaking to some players over the last few weeks and months."

Ashford manager Tommy Warrilow. Picture: Paul Amos
Ashford manager Tommy Warrilow. Picture: Paul Amos

Warrilow, whose Ashford side have finished fourth and second in Isthmian South East during his two seasons at the club, says the Homelands outfit also look set to retain the services of talented first-team stars Tariq Ossai and Tom O'Connor for the upcoming campaign.

He added: “Tariq has come back and he's got the ability to really push on so that's another plus, especially if he stays the whole season with us because I know what I'm going to get from him up and down the pitch.

"We've had Tom O'Connor come back, too, and he's done a couple of sessions and ran well but that's still early days.

"He's had no reaction to his injury and, hopefully if he does come through, people can see what a player he is from what he's already done at the club.

"With Bode and Tommie Fagg also coming back, they are for me two of the best in this league - I wouldn't swap them for anybody, and they're at a good age where if they keep their heads down, they can play regularly and show their fantastic potential."

Despite the likes of Lee Prescott, Ben Wilson and George Purcell departing the team for pastures new in recent weeks, Warrilow acknowledges losing the latter on Saturday was always an inevitability during the summer's embryonic stages.

He explained: "I'm gutted that we didn't get to see more of George because he and David Smith were causing havoc at times in what was a really good forward line if Jay May was fit too last season.

"But Bowers Pitsea is five minutes away from his home so we knew keeping him was always going to be a problem.

"But he's an honest lad that told me that early anyway, so I wish him all the best moving forward."

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