ON HIS WAY: Striker Amar Purewal is moving to Hebburn
ON HIS WAY: Striker Amar Purewal is moving to Hebburn

FOOTBALL may just be re-emerging from lockdown, with the country's top teams playing the 2019/20 season to a conclusion, but its been a busy few weeks for West Auckland Town FC as the club pre-pares for the next campaign.

Manager Gary Forrest has made six new signings, while three well known faces have moved on.

Three new signings were unveiled this week, including Andre Bennett, son of former Sunderland star Gary. Bennett junior has been on the books at Middlesbrough FC, on loan to Gateshead and has enjoyed a spell in Australia. He returned last season and held dual registration with Whitley Bay FC and Whitby Town. Second to sign this week was Callum Patton, who is making a return to West hav-ng previously played for the club as a teenager. He has also plied his trade with Gateshead, Bishop Auck-land and Whitby Town.

Fi-nally, Michael Hoganson has signed from near neighbours Bishop Auckland. The left back has previous experience in the champi-onship for Derby County and came through Newcastle U18s.

The trio join three signings made shortly after the end of last season. Luke Bythway and Evan Horwood joined from Whitby Town FC, while Kyle Fryatt was another to sign from Bishop Auckland. Bythway is a versatile player who returned to Whitby Town at the start of the 2019/20 sea-son after a lay-off with a knee injury. He made 32 appear-ances for the Blues last term. Previous clubs include Hartlepool United, Doncaster, Guisborough, Bishop Auck-land and Marske United. Billingham born defender Evan Horwood started his ca-reer with Sheffield United’s youth system progressing through the academy and re-serves.

After short loan spells at League One teams Stockport, Scunthorpe and Chester he finally settled at Carlisle, with 77 appearances, and Hartle-pool where he scored five goals in 123 appearances. He is no stranger at Wembley, playing there in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Final for Carlisle and the FA Trophy with Grimsby.

Kyle Fryatt joins from Bishop Auckland after playing two seasons for West’s near neighbours. He is no stranger to manager Gary Forrest as he was part of the Shildon title winning team in the 2015/16 season.

After leaving Shildon he had a short spell in Sweden before returning to Whitley Bay and Whitby Town. He is an attacking player and was probably Bishop’s best player against West in the last campaign. However, missing from West when the new season starts will be striker Amar Purewal, who has signed for Hebburn Town. Also moving on is Jamie Cobain, who joined West Auckland, from Kilmarnock.

He said he had enjoyed his time with West but wanted to step up to a higher level and has signed for Whitby Town in the Northern Premier League Premier Division. The third player to leave is Tom Price. He has moved on to Ryhope, where he lives, and also plans to play Sunday morning football.