12:00PM, Thursday 22 July 2021
Photo by Darren Woolley
Maidenhead United have re-signed goalkeeper James Holden on a season long loan from Reading FC.
The Royals u23s player has been back in pre-season for the past three weeks and also joined the club's first team squad on a recent training trip to St Andrews in Scotland.
He arrives back at York Road having had a shorter close season than most of his teammates, however, Holden told Maidenhead United's media officer Grace Scott he was 'buzzing' to be back and is keen to be a solid presence between the sticks for the Magpies this season.
He and Rhys Lovett - another of the club's summer signings - are set to rival each other for the goalkeeper's number one shirt.
Holden said: “After playing five games here last season I wanted to come back.
“I’ve been back in pre-season for three weeks now, the first two of those were training with the u23s again and then I had the opportunity to go to Scotland with the first team, which was brilliant. I got some valuable experience training with them.
“He (Alan Devonshire) just asked me if I’m ready and looking forward to it, which I am, I’m buzzing. He was asking how my pre-season has been and how I’m feeling after what’s been quite a short break, but everything is good.
“I hope to keep more clean sheets and keep the ball out of the net more than I did in the last five games, which were all tough. I want to be solid, someone you can trust and not have to worry about.”
Holden was signed on an emergency loan basis for the final five games of last season, after Lovett was injured playing in goal against Notts County.
He made several impressive stops, and kept a clean sheet in a goalless draw against Yeovil Town, however, it was a tough end to the season for the Magpies who were running on empty in the final weeks due to injuries, suspensions and an over crowded schedule of fixtures.
The 19-year-old looks set to play against his Reading u23s colleagues when the Royals visit Maidenhead for a pre-season friendly at York Road on Friday, August 6, 7.30pm kick-off.
The race to get as many people vaccinated against coronavirus has ramped up in the Royal Borough and Slough amidst an ongoing rise in cases across the country.