CHIPPENHAM Town manager Mark Collier has hailed the signing of veteran defender Matt Coupe from Gloucester City as a major coup for his side.
Boss Collier has launched straight into moulding his Bluebirds squad for next season and has moved to bring in 35-year-old Gloucester captain Coupe, who has previously featured for Bath City and Forest Green Rovers.
Coupe, who spent a month-long loan-spell with Chippenham back in 2003, played against the Bluebirds in their 1-0 FA Cup fourth qualifying round defeat to Conference North Gloucester in 2012.
Meanwhile, Collier has also brought utility man Toby Osman back to the club ahead of the upcoming campaign.
The 23-year-old, who originally joined Chippenham in March 2011, left the Bluebirds last September to join Bridgwater Town and subsequently finished the season at Mangotsfield United.
“We’ve been after a right-sided centre-half for some time and I think that Matt Coupe is a big signing for the club,” said Collier.
“He’s played over 600 games at Conference level and with the experience he has, he should be a great addition.
“Toby Osman is someone that wants to play for Chippenham Town. He’s a utility player so bringing him adds some great strength-in-depth to the squad.”
Meanwhile, the Chippenham chief has already tied down the bulk of his squad for the upcoming campaign just eleven days after the conclusion of the previous Southern League Premier Division season.
Twelve members of last year’s squad have agreed to remain at Hardenhuish Park next season but goalkeeper Ben John has been released whilst striker Jake Harris has opted to head for exit door.
Collier is still in talks with winger Joe McClennan, who is rumoured to be interesting Conference South Bath City, whilst Corey King and Jake Simpson are yet to commit their future to the Bluebirds.
Chippenham are also waiting for developments on the future of 17-year-old defender Tyron Leigh, who is currently on trial with Bristol City, with a view to joining the League One club’s academy set-up.
Collier said: “Tyron Leigh has been on trial at Bristol City academy for a few weeks and is set to play for them again at the end of this week or next weekend, so we’ll wait to see what happens with him – if he joins them, then of course we’ll be happy for him after bringing him up from our U18s.
“I’m still in talks with Joe McClennan and I haven’t spoken to Corey King yet. Jake Simpson plans to come to pre-season with us.
“We’re still hoping to see if we can make one or two more big signings, so we’ll carry on talking to people.”
CURRENT CHIPPENHAM TOWN SQUAD FOR NEXT SEASON: Kent Kauppinen, Greg Tindle, Jon Beeden, Callum Wright, Pete Monks, Shane Blackmore, Harley Purnell, Iain Harvey, Bryan Smith, James Guthrie, Lee Phillips, Alan Griffin, Matt Coupe (signed from Gloucester City), Toby Osman (signed from Mangotsfield United).
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