YATE Town boss Rob Cousins is closing in on his first two summer signings, including an ‘old favourite’ who is expected to feature against a strong Swindon Town side at Lodge Road on Friday night (7.30pm).
Captain Mike Bryant, Tom Seery and Connor Clifford have all left the Southern League Division One South and West club to join newly-promoted Paulton Rovers, but the rest of last season’s squad returned to training last Saturday along with some new faces.
Although Cousins refused to give anything away, he did reveal a former Yate player is expected to join another new addition to the squad and both should feature along with some trialists in their first pre-season friendly.
“We’ll have a couple of new faces on show on Friday evening and an old favourite returning,” said Cousins.
Also involved will be former Bristol Rovers striker Lewis Haldane, who has turned down offers from other clubs to remain at Yate.
“Lewis Haldane is training with us and he enjoyed last year,” said Cousins.
“Someone who scored 30-plus goals with his pedigree is always going to attract interest.
“He’s happy with what he’s got with us and the work the chairman (Colin Pick) gives him so if we can keep him happy it gives us half a chance.”
Swindon, who finished eighth in League One last season, are expected to take their first team squad to Lodge Road due to manager Mark Cooper’s friendship with Cousins and Yate director of football Nigel Hawkins.
All three were at Bristol City together as young players, while Cooper and Cousins were midfield partners at Forest Green during the 2001-02 season.
“He’s doing us a favour by bringing his first team squad,” said Cousins.
“We’ve got a good relationship with him and his club so if we need players and he wants to get players out on loan it could suit both parties.”
Cousins has urged his side to relish the opportunity to play against full-time professionals and hopes the game will attract a big crowd.
He said: “It’s a chance for the current squad to show what shape they are in and for the new faces to push themselves forward to be at Yate.
“Other than the FA Cup, the only chance to play against League opposition is in pre-season friendlies so it will be a nice test and good for the supporters to come and look at the quality of a League One side against the standard of our players.”