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Herne Bay manager Ben Smith bolsters squad ahead of Isthmian South East promotion push

Ben Smith has strengthened his promotion-chasing Herne Bay squad.

The Bay boss has brought in two players, including midfielder Samuel ‘Jay’ Naiwo who had enjoyed a stint in Sweden where he most recently played for Division 1 outfit Sandvikens.

Naiwo undertook a scholarship with Cambridge United but headed for the United States on a soccer scholarship at 18 when he left the U’s, spending four years across the Atlantic.

Herne Bay manager Ben Smith
Herne Bay manager Ben Smith

After that, he returned to Europe in 2016 but has now linked up with a Herne Bay side who are in fifth in Isthmian South East.

Smith said: “He came to watch us play against Hythe on Saturday. He is friends with Zak Ansah. He has had a look at us and decided we are a good fit for him.

“I have watched footage of some of his games in Sweden and it looks a decent standard.

“He looks a good fit for us.”

Striker Junior Aikhionbare has also re-signed for the Winch's Field club.

On the field, Bay drew 1-1 at Hythe on Saturday before braces from Zak Ansah and Tushaun Walters earned them a 4-0 home win over Ramsgate on Tuesday.

On Saturday, Herne Bay visit Haywards Heath before they travel to Faversham on Tuesday night.

Smith said: “We have Haywards Heath and Faversham to play next. They will be two very physically demanding games.

“Faversham have not had the best of times over the last couple of seasons. But (for them), it’s that factor of ‘Can we stop them’? We need to guard against that.

“But I love the fact that we are talking about things like this. When I was last here as a coach, we were hoping to go to places like Faversham and get a point.

“Now, it’s the other way around.”

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