EXCLUSIVE: Conor Washington will be a St Ives Town player again next season

CONOR Washington will be a St Ives Town player again next season after signing United Counties League registration forms with the club.

The 20-year-old striker, who scored an amazing 52 goals in 50 games for the Saints last season, had a trial with Peterborough United, talked to Dagenham & Redbridge, and underwent a medical at Cambridge United. It was during that medical that a small problem was discovered with the cartilage in his left knee. The problem won’t stop Washington from playing - but he will need an operation, and it did halt Cambridge’s immediate interest.

“Once the problem was discovered, Conor said he wouldn’t sign for any other non-professional club but St Ives,” said the club’s joint manager Jez Hall, who has been at the young striker’s side throughout his talks with interested parties.

Despite the obvious disappointment, the return of Washington is a huge fillip for Hall and his co-manager Warren Everdell, who will relish the opportunity to unleash their star striker on UCL Premier Division defenders again next season. A date for the operation has not yet been set and he will be free to play until he goes under the knife.

Washington told The Hunts Post: “I love it here and I wouldn’t want to play for anyone else outside the professional game.

“I can’t wait to get started - I have always hated the summer break.

And he admitted: “I had it in my mind that there might be a problem so I set myself up to be disappointed.”

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Hall added: “Conor is still only 20 and he will still be 20 at the end of next season - and once he has had the operation, he will be able to talk to clubs again.

“He can train and play with the problem - but not for four or five days a week which he will have to do as a professional.”

Hall also confirmed that the majority of the squad that performed so well last season have signed on again. The Saints finished third behind AFC Long Buckby and King’s Lynn Town - but both of those teams were promoted to Step 4 and the club will be among the favourites for the title this time out.

Indeed, with Washington on board, St Ives Town will again have the best striker in the division. “It’s great news for us and the lads in the squad will be well chuffed,” said Hall. “It’s like we have got ourselves a pro footballer.”