Ashington FC sign striker Connor Thomson plus a goalkeeper and add to the backroom staff

Connor Thomson scored 17 goals for Ashington last season. Picture: Ian BrodieConnor Thomson scored 17 goals for Ashington last season. Picture: Ian Brodie
Connor Thomson scored 17 goals for Ashington last season. Picture: Ian Brodie
Ashington FC signed their number one priority target according to joint head coach Richie Hill when Connor Thomson put pen to paper on a contract at Woodhorn Lane.

Last season the striker spent the best part of six months with the Colliers on loan from neighbours Morpeth Town and not only made an immediate impact, scoring a brace on his debut in the 4-0 win at Winterton Rangers, but also endeared himself to the club’s supporters.

“When Ashington came in to take me on loan last season, I wanted to take that chance straight away,” Thomson said.

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“I just wanted to get out and play some games and see what happened, but I fell in love with the club.”

The 28-year-old netted 17 goals during his loan spell – lifting the top goalscoring award at the end of season presentations.

Thomson’s contract with the Highwaymen came to an end recently and he said it was a ‘no brainer’ to sign for the Colliers.

He said: “As soon as Andy (Coyles, joint head coach) and Richie approached me about a contract it was a no brainer because I wanted to stay and I enjoy playing here.”

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Whilst Thomson finished top of the goalscoring charts, his striking partner Wilson Kneeshaw finished one behind – the pair plundering 33 goals between them.

Kneeshaw announced his commitment to the club last week and Thomson added: “The news about Wilson staying played a big part too because it’s rare to gel with someone so well, and Wilson and I get on just as well off the pitch as we do on it.”

Hill said: “When Andy and myself got the job, the first thing we did was to look at the current squad as to who we wanted to keep as well as players who we wanted to bring to the club – and Connor was right up there as our number one priority.”

The club has also signed goalkeeper Dan Staples and goalkeeping coach Lee Barrass.

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Staples played for the Colliers during the 2019/20 season when he was commuting from Carlisle and it was the gruelling travel which was his reason for leaving and joining Penrith, ironically when Coyles was manager of the Bonny Blues.

Newcastle-born Staples has been with Northern Premier League East Division outfit Dunston UTS for the past two terms. However, his season last year was curtailed just as UTS were mounting a promotion bid.

He explained: “Injury took its toll as I dislocated my shoulder in March against Carlton so I missed out on the run-in.”

Speaking about coming back to the Ashington, Staples, who is based in Cramlington, said: “I know the majority of the people who are in the background at the club who don’t get enough credit for what they do. The club is only going one way and I would like to be part of it.”

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Coyles said: “Dan will compete with Ross Coombe – they will be working side by side with new goalkeeping coach Lee Barrass and hopefully the three of them can have a really good working relationship.”Barrass, who operated in a similar role with West Auckland last season, said: “I already know Dan and Ross, and the set-up here at Ashington is really nice. I’m looking forward to meeting the team.”

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