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News Archive > Sport > Blazey Players Are Willing To Stay Put

Blazey Players Are Willing To Stay Put

By Gareth Davies 24th February 2021

Blazey Players Are Willing To Stay Put
Defender Sam Cooper

Phil Lafferty has wasted little time in shaping his St Blazey playing squad with several currently registered players pledging their future to the Green and Blacks.

After all players and management involved in a pre-Christmas covid-19 breach were axed from the Blaise Park outfit, new boss Lafferty, along with his assistants Jay Isbell and Lee Phillips, are now faced with the sizeable task of a complete first team squad rebuild.

However, not all registered South West Peninsula League (SWPL) players were involved in an unofficial party and their registrations will be kept by the club.

Speaking exclusively to the Voice. Lafferty revealed that so far, Jed Smale, Sam Cooper, Elliott Rendle, Isaac Burdon and Jordan Walton have all said they want to remain with the club under a new management structure. 

“It has been very important to start talking and to see how the ground lies with the players still registered at the club,” Lafferty said.

“I have spoken to pretty much all of those that are eligible to remain and the response has been great. Why wouldn't they want to stay at the club either because I don't think they will find a better place to play their football.

“Jed Smale, who had a nasty injury just before he joined the club from Elburton Villa, is keen and he is a vastly experienced player at Peninsula League level. He is over his injury concerns and wants to have a real good crack at playing for Blazey.

“Sam Cooper (left) wants to stay at the club and fight for his place at centre half which is good for the club too.

“Elliott Rendle has committed and wants to stay at the club and young Isaac Burdon, who they bought in from Plymouth Argyle under-18s last summer, seems very keen to show what he can offer. As things stand, he is at the club.

“Jordan Walton is also keen to have a crack because he is approaching 30 and wants to win things – those are his own words.

“So, overall, we have a nucleus of lads that know the club inside out. They won't know what is expected from me, but it is good that at this moment in time, they want to stay and fight for their place.”

Under previous joint-bosses Matt Hayden and Shaun Vincent, training used to take place away from St Blazey due to location of players in and around the Plymouth area.

Although those that have said they will stay aren’t local to mid-Cornwall, Lafferty has reiterated that training will now take place at Blaise Park until October, with a winter location being actively explored too.

He added: “The players are aware that training won't be taking place on their doorstep, it will on the doorstep of the club. 

“Naturally, training will bounce back down here and we have had the all-clear from the groundsman Paul Bowden that we can use the main pitch up until October time. We then have some irons in the fire for winter and training beyond that.

“Quite frankly, if the players aren’t all right with the new arrangement, then they are at the wrong club.”

With Lafferty now laying the foundations for his side, attentions will now turn to players that currently ply their trade away from Blazey. Some sections of Cornish football have accused Lafferty of ‘tapping up’ certain players, but he hit back at those accusations.

“However people deem it, be it acceptable, legal, or whatever, I am in contact and have remained in contact with every player that played for me previously – bar one or two maybe,” he remarked.

“So the connections are already there, it isn’t a case of ‘hey, guys, I haven’t spoken to you for five years, but would you like to play for me?’

“I am not getting carried away with myself by saying that if any player wants to play for St Blazey next season, then their current manager will have to fight to keep their players.”

By Gareth Davies 24th February 2021

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