Weston-super-Mare strengthen squad ahead of visit from East Thurrock United

PUBLISHED: 12:41 24 March 2017 | UPDATED: 12:41 24 March 2017

Scott Bartlett.

Scott Bartlett.


Weston-super-Mare head coach Scott Bartlett has added to his 18-man strong squad ahead of the visit of East Thurrock United to The Woodspring Stadium tomorrow (Saturday).

Goalkeeper Phil Smith has been welcomed as additional cover for the ever-present Luke Purnell and Theo Wharton has joined on loan from Cardiff City.

Experienced Smith, aged 37, has made hundreds of football league appearances and is currently signed to National League South side Aldershot Town and Bartlett said the cover is crucial.

He said: “We thought it would be sensible to add some experienced cover in this area in case of Luke picking up an injury, or even if we are approached regarding Luke by another team, who has been in outstanding form.

“Smith is an extremely experienced goalkeeper and is a good character, I know he will be ready if and when he is called upon. He is known to us and provides perfect cover for Luke, who as I’ve said has been exceptional.”

In contrast, 22-year-old midfielder Wharton has joined the Seagulls, having represented England at under-17 level.

Despite interest from higher-level clubs, Wharton heads to The Woodspring Stadium hoping for some first team experience.

Bartlett added: “Theo is an exciting player with genuine quality. He is an energetic box-to-box midfield player with a good passing range.

“We are delighted he has decided to join us considering he had offers from clubs much higher in the football pyramid.

“His ability aside, he showed a real desire to join us here at Weston, that was important for me. Again this highlights that players now see the club as a place they can both develop and improve. I see this as an enormous compliment to both the coaching staff and the whole club.

“With seven league games and the cup game against Brislington to play, we thought it would be sensible to add one more to our squad to be able to add someone of Theo’s quality is a real boost.

“It’s a compliment that Neil Warnock and James McCarthy at Cardiff trust us to develop their players and I’d like to thank them for that.”

Weston welcome East Thurrock United tomorrow for a 3pm kick-off as the Seagulls look to halt their five-match losing run.

For live coverage of the match – and exclusive post-match interviews – follow @WSMERCURY on Twitter and online at www.westonmercury.co.uk/sport

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