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Defender Ben Swift is Margate's new captain

Jay Saunders has made Ben Swift his new captain at Margate.

Swift, 22, takes the armband from Liam Friend, who has joined Thanet rivals Ramsgate.

Blues boss Saunders believes he is ideal for the role and sees an opportunity for the former Aston Villa youngster to push on next season.

Ben Swift is Margate's new captain Picture: Don Walker
Ben Swift is Margate's new captain Picture: Don Walker

Saunders said: "He's young but I feel he deserves the armband.

"The one game he was captain last season, when Friendy was away, he was outstanding.

"I made him aware when he signed his new deal that I wanted to make him captain.

"He's a no-holds-barred defender who wants to head and kick things.

"He's that old-fashioned centre-half you need and I think the captaincy will get that extra 10% out of him.

"I think I can improve him as a defender and make him better and if that's the case, everyone benefits.

"It's a big year for him. If he has a good start to the season I can see a chance for him to move on."

Margate manager Jay Saunders Picture: Don Walker
Margate manager Jay Saunders Picture: Don Walker

Friend rejected reduced terms following a budget cut and has signed for Ramsgate along with Tom Wynter.

Saunders said: "Wynts was injured for most of last season and never played for me.

"I spoke to him and said once you're fit you're welcome to come back and earn yourself a deal.

"He was a great lad around the changing room, supporting the boys, and a very good player, but he's chosen to move on.

"With Friendy, I made him an offer on reduced terms because of the budget.

"He did well for me and we'll miss his experience at the back but I understand his reasons."

Margate signed Enfield left-back Jay Porter and ex-Maidstone midfielder Jack Richards last week.

They're closing in on a right-back while Saunders is hoping to unearth a couple of gems at a trial match tomorrow tonight.

Read more: The latest sports news in Kent

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