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Tonbridge Angels boss Jay Saunders signs Ben Swift and retains Joe Turner and Doug Loft


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Tonbridge Angels manager Jay Saunders has made his first signings since taking charge.

Two are familiar faces remaining at Longmead while another is a defender that Saunders managed at former club, Margate.

The popular Joe Turner has agreed to stay at Tonbridge next season. Picture: David Couldridge
The popular Joe Turner has agreed to stay at Tonbridge next season. Picture: David Couldridge

Fans' favourite Joe Turner has agreed to stay at Tonbridge for a sixth successive season. The left-winger has 59 goals in 202 appearances in a Tonbridge shirt to his name.

Saunders said: “Joe’s fine reputation on the pitch goes before him and it's not just that he is a crowd pleaser with the ball at his feet but his tremendous work rate off the ball.

"Always a handful for defenders, he’s so difficult to mark and always willing to help out his defence.”

Turner said: "I do love this club and basically Jay has re-sold it to me. I’m excited about his plans and the way he wants to do things and I want to be part of a new era.”

Also remaining at Tonbridge is midfielder Doug Loft who made 29 appearances last season and scored one goal. He initially agreed to play for Saunders at Margate last season before switching to Longmead to sign for former Angels boss Steve McKimm.

One new face is 25-year-old centre-back Ben Swift, who was captain of Margate under Saunders last season.

“I’m very pleased to have obtained Ben’s signature," said Saunders. "I believe he will become an integral part of the Angels back line and will build a great relationship with the Angels supporters.”

Swift said: "It’s great to be linking up again with Jay at Tonbridge.

"I have huge respect for him as a manager and I’ve achieved my aim to play at a higher level of football so it’s worked out really well.”

Ben Swift has followed Jay Saunders in swapping Margate for Tonbridge Angels. Picture: Andy Jones
Ben Swift has followed Jay Saunders in swapping Margate for Tonbridge Angels. Picture: Andy Jones

Saunders has also been busy with his backroom staff. Lloyd Blackman, who was his assistant at Margate, has joined the management team while Tom Parkinson has been appointed player/assistant manager.

Parkinson joined Tonbridge in 2014 and has 234 appearances to his name despite suffering two serious leg injuries. He is also manager of Tonbridge's successful academy side.

There has been one more confirmed departure with Ricky Modeste added to the list of players departing Tonbridge.

Three pre-season friendlies have been announced with Tonbridge visiting Cray Wanderers on July 9, National League North Farsley Celtic on July 16 and Margate on July 23.

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