Ryan rejects St Neots Town return but title-winner could arrive

Ryan Frater has left St Neots Town. Picture: CLAIRE HOWES

Ryan Frater has left St Neots Town. Picture: CLAIRE HOWES - Credit: Archant

Central defender Ryan Frater has left St Neots after snubbing a reduced deal.

Frater, who captained the club on occasions last season, had initially indicated he was keen to stay, but has now chosen to move on.

Saints have plenty of defensive options with Adam Tann, Tom Ward and summer recruit Connor Hall all comfortable at centre-back.

Boss David Batch is also keen to bring Mat Mitchel-King back to the Cozy Stadium, but faces competition from a host of higher-level clubs, and has been impressed by summer trialist Jamie Anton. The former Leicester City youngster helped Corby Town to the Southern League Premier Division title last term.

Batch said: “Ryan was initially keen to stay, but he has since had a better offer elsewhere which he has chosen to take.

“We are well-covered in central defence and that was a factor in our decision to offer him reduced terms in the first place.

“We have put a deal to Mat and we’re hoping for an answer in the coming days. He has received loads of offers though, including a couple from Conference clubs.

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“Jamie has also done well since coming in and gives us another option.”

Anton played last night when Saints fielded a team made up entirely of trialists and youngsters in a 0-0 draw with Stanway Rovers in their first pre-season friendly last night.

Frontman Andrew Ofosu came closest to breaking the deadlock when flicking a corner into the side-netting late on. Two French strikers, Bebey Berchand and Matene Togola, had earlier squandered good chances.

Batch added: “It was a very worthwhile exercise to have a look at the trialists and younger players while not impacting on the first-team squad, who all trained with John Beck instead.

“There a couple of lads who we will probably look to discuss terms with based on their performances in the game and previously in training while we will continue to look at three or four others.”

St Neots have confirmed three improper conduct charges against manager Batch - issued in the wake of their Southern League Premier Division play-off final loss at Truro in May - were dropped by a Football Association disciplinary panel on Tuesday.

Veteran goalkeeper Paul Bastock, who was released at the end of last season, has signed for Premier Division rivals Dunstable Town.