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Sittingbourne manager Ryan Maxwell sees a big future for 18-year-old forward Codey Cosgrave and explains why talks with Chris Harris are on hold

Sittingbourne could have something of a wonderkid on their hands following their latest summer signing.

Codey Cosgrave, 18, arrives at Woodstock after finishing last season with Bishop’s Stortford in National League North.

Sittingbourne manager Ryan Maxwell. Picture: Ian Scammell
Sittingbourne manager Ryan Maxwell. Picture: Ian Scammell

The former Enfield and Grays attacker is an exciting prospect for Brickies manager Ryan Maxwell.

He previously recommended him to Stortford owner Steve Smith.

“He’s a very talented boy,” said Maxwell. “He had a taste of non-league at Enfield and Grays and it’s no secret the people at Bishop’s Stortford are friends of mine, certainly the owner.

“He asked me last season should I sign him and I said yes, because he’s got something.

“With Stortford coming down and moving into the Southern League, we’re a little more attractive location-wise being in the Isthmian League and I’m looking forward to working with him.

“He’s a gutsy, fiery guy, a young man with ability who can play in a few attacking positions.

“He’s got a lot to learn but having spoken to him numerous times, I’m sure he’s a quick learner so I thought I’d take a gamble.

“I like to take a gamble with young talent and try to nurture it and develop it as best we can.

“He scored a lovely goal for Bishop’s Stortford against Banbury.

“He took it with real composure, which is something you don’t tend to have at that age. That normally comes a bit later.

“It was an experience for him playing National North.

“As an 18-year-old, if you’re playing first-team football at any level, you’re fortunate.

“When he got in the team they were already relegated and he could be thrown in with no pressure.

“Of course, he’d have put pressure on himself but he handled that well.”

Cosgrave gives Sittingbourne different options in attack and age is no barrier to selection.

“He can play wide, in a 10 or up front,” said Maxwell.

“He’s someone who wants to get at people, gets shots off and create things.

“He’s got a lot of strings to his bow and it’s important I manage him correctly.

“I wouldn’t sign a player for the sake of it.

“I’ve signed him to fight for a spot and I’m telling you now he will fight for wherever I’m looking to play him.

“He wouldn’t come here if he didn’t think he’d play and I wouldn’t sign him if I didn’t think he could contribute.”

The future of one of last season’s star players won’t be resolved until later this summer.

Chris Harris is busy playing cricket but could yet be with Sittingbourne next season. Picture: Ian Scammell
Chris Harris is busy playing cricket but could yet be with Sittingbourne next season. Picture: Ian Scammell

Striker Chris Harris, who scored 18 goals in 31 appearances, is currently concentrating on another sport.

He plays club cricket for Essex side Maldon in the Two Counties Championship.

“He’s a fantastic cricketer,” said Maxwell.

“The cricket season overlaps the football season, so I’ve parked that one and I’ll speak to him when the time is right.

“He’s certainly said he’s open to signing for us again.

“I know people who know him through cricket, not football.

“He’s just an all-round sportsman. He’s good at everything.

“He’s smart guy - the smartest player I’ve managed.”

Meanwhile, Maxwell has praised the character of Richie Hamill after joining Sittingbourne from Swale rivals Sheppey.

It was a big call from Hamill to leave Holm Park for the Brickies but one made for the right reasons.

“I’m not from Kent, I don’t live there, but I appreciate the county in which I work and I know it’s a big thing to get someone from your direct rivals,” said Maxwell.

“To get their captain is a real statement of intent because he wanted to come here and challenge for the league title.

“It’s not as simple as that but Richie believes we’re going to be up there and that’s why he signed.

“I’m a big admirer of him, not because he was so influential in our games against Sheppey last season but because of how he plays.

“He’s composed on the ball, he’s a good passer, he picks up loads of ball and conducts the game.

“He’s left-footed as well and gives us a different dimension in terms of how the tactics can be delivered, and he’s also a captain and a leader who knows the level. He ticked every box.

“It was hardest for him because he’s got to leave a club where he’s absolutely loved and where he was captain.

“It must have been a wrench but I respect him for making the decision and he’s done it for the right reasons.

“Anyone who’s come to the club this summer has come with the common goal to be successful.”

Maxwell is happy with his squad but can’t rule out further additions.

He added: “What happens is people then ring you and you have a decision to make because they’re very good players.

“We’ve strengthened down the spine. We’ve brought in men, we’ve brought in two captains on top of our own captain.

“We wanted to address the leadership and maturity of the team and I think we’ve done that.”

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