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Margate sign winger Ben Swallow from Havant & Waterlooville, former Wycombe striker Dean Morgan and midfielder Harrison Bennett from Reading

By Mark Stokes

Nikki Bull believes he has added some much needed nous to his Margate squad by signing two men who boast a wealth of Non-League experience.

Ahead of the Vanarama National League South trip to East Thurrock United on Saturday the Gate boss has drafted in winger Ben Swallow, and striker Dean Morgan. The Blues have also brought in 19-year-old defensive midfielder Harrison Bennett, on a 28-day loan from Championship side Reading.

Swallow has also signed on a 28-day loan - from Ryman League Premier Division side Havant & Waterlooville - while much travelled striker Morgan is a free agent.

Ben Swallow in action during his spell at Dartford
Ben Swallow in action during his spell at Dartford

Bull believes all three will prove good assets in the bottom club's battle against relegation and he admits the capture of 27-year-old former Bromley and Dartford man Swallow was particularly opportunistic.

He explained: "I had a call from Ben's agent asking me for the number of a Conference manager so I jumped in on it and said we'd take him.

"He used to be at Bristol Rovers and has played 100 games at Conference South level or above.

"There is no issue with him and them, he just needs game time and Havant have been as a good as gold with us.

"They were reluctant to let him go but they've changed their formation to 3-5-2 and they feel Ben can't play as a wing-back because he's an out and out winger."

Bull played with 33-year-old Morgan at Wycombe while Gate assistant boss Steve Brown was at Reading when the striker was a youngster there.

Bull's hope is that the pair of them can coax the best out of a player, whose long list of previous clubs also includes Colchester, Luton and Chesterfield, and who was mostly recently at Bishop's Stortford for whom he made a brief appearance off the bench at Hartsdown on January 7.

Bull explained: "Dean's someone who comes with a bit of baggage. He's had loads of clubs and hasn't necessarily always played to his potential but with him it's about stimulating his mind. There's never been any question about his ability."

Charles Banya Picture: Don Walker
Charles Banya Picture: Don Walker

Leaving Hartsdown is former Maidstone winger Charles Banya who goes with Bull's best wishes.

He explained: "Charles' attitude has been fantastic. He did extremely well in a Maidstone team that was used to winning last season but unfortunately he's come into a side that was low on confidence and we've been unable to play to his strengths."

Saturday's meeting at Rookery Hill will be the fourth between the sides this season. The Blues beat Thurrock 2-1 in the league in early September but then lost 2-0 in an FA Trophy replay after a 1-1 draw at Hartsdown.

Thurrock are 11th in the table having lost just five league matches all season. They have however drawn 12 - more than any other club in the division- and recently lost 6-1 at Dartford.

The Gate are on a 12-match losing run - they last won in the league on October 8 when they beat Hemel Hempstead 2-1 at Hartsdown.

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