Weston look to end pre-season campaign with a flourish ahead of Hereford friendly
PUBLISHED: 10:00 12 September 2020 | UPDATED: 10:41 12 September 2020
As Weston get ready to host Hereford in their final pre-season friendly, they will do so with two former Bulls players in their ranks.
Mike Symons and Keiran Thomas have both been bought in by manager Scott Bartlett, insisting they “both play a big part in the club’s future” and have “fitted in very well” since their arrival in Somerset.
Bartlett added: “Both are good players and good people.. Mike loved his time at Hereford and is quite rightly loved there for what he achieved, our supporters have taken to him instantly and he is already a fans favourite at Weston.
“Keiran is very competitive and is an aggressive player that gives everything so both players are great additions for us.”
Symons joined The Seagulls on New Year’s Eve in 2019, where he ended a five-year-spell at Edgar Street, scoring 65 goals and assisting a further 47 in his 182 games with the club.
He helped them to win the Midland League in his first season before picking up the Southern League Division One South and West title in 2017 and then claiming the Southern League Premier Division championship one year later
Symons also won the Herefordshire County Cup in his first three seasons as well as lifting the Midland Football League Cup in 2016 and the Southern League ‘Champions of Champions’ Cup in 2017.
“I left Hereford around Christmas time last year,” began Symons.
“I had five great years at the club, one of the best spells I’ve ever had in my career.
“I had great success there with a few promotions and I know there have been a lot of change at the club.
“A few of the lads are still there from last year. Obviously Gows (Josh Gowling) is in charge now, so I can catch up with him because he was a player when I was there.
“It will be good to see some familiar faces around the ground and I am looking forward to another pre-season game because we’ve started quite well as a group and looking to build on what we’ve done already.”
Current teammate Thomas, who played with Symons during his time with Hereford, transferred from Gloucester City in the summer of 2018 and quickly went on to become one of the popular members of the team.
After finishing second for Hereford’s Player of the Year in the 2018-2019 campaign, as voted by the fans, he went one better 12 months later.
The popular defender also found the back of the net three times in 71 matches and looked back on his time with the National League North side with fond memories.
“Hereford meant a lot to me,” said Thomas.
“I got on really well with everyone there and had a good relationship with the fans. It was upsetting to leave.
“Obviously I’m a Weston player now, I’ve just got to do my job. I want to play for Weston and try to put the rest of that at the back of my head and not really worry about it. I will just play how I normally play.”
Since starting pre-season on August 7 Weston have scored 21 goals in their nine games and are unbeaten in five matches, including picking up impressive draws with Yeovil and Bath in their last two matches at The Optima Stadium.
“Saturday will be another test against a team in a higher league,” admitted Symons.
“Hopefully we can build up on what we learned against Yeovil and what we did against Bath.
“I thought they were two great performances from the group of lads and another test against a team similar to the teams we played.
“Hopefully we can put in another positive performance and then that will take us into our league game away at Dorchester.”
Thomas echoed Symons’ comments.
“I’m really looking forward to the game, seeing tomorrow’s faces and getting pre-season out of the way so we can concentrate on the league,” he added.
“We’ve have got a brilliant squad and I’m really enjoying being at Weston. We have got a great bunch of lads and we play some really good football.
“Obviously, as everyone has seen so far though pre-season, we are going to have a good campaign this year.”
With a good crowd expected for today’s first ever clash between the two sides, Bartlett has been left delighted with Weston’s performances as they look to finish pre-season on a high, where The Seagulls have lost once in their nine friendlies, ahead of the Southern League Premier South campaign starting next Saturday at Dorchester Town.
“It’s been a good pre-season up to now but results don’t have a bearing on the start of the season really,” said Bartlett.
“Physically we are in a good position and we have been excellent out of possession, which is pleasing.
“Every player has done really well and we have a real headache selecting the team for Dorchester.
“The last two home games have been good and it’s been brilliant to have our fans back.
“I’d love a bumper crowd for the Hereford game, that would be a great way to end pre-season, a big crowd against a strong team with a good away following, which will set us up for what’s coming next.”
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