Neil Baker: 'One or two more may leave but core will be kept together'

Slough Town manager Neil Baker expects there may be one or two more players following Jack Turner and Sam Togwell out of the club this summer, but the core of last season's squad will be kept together.

The club also announced the return of Matt Lench and Scott Davies as well as the signings of goalkeeper Jonathan North and striker Tom Derry.

It's been a week of coming and goings at Arbour Park, with the news that goalkeeper Turner and Togwell would be ending their successful stints as Rebels players.

Turner, who lives in Hayling Island in Hampshire and now works in Kent, is moving on, not for footballing reasons, having played a key role in getting the club promoted to the National League South, but because the club's location no longer works for him and his family.

Baker said: “There may be one or two others (who will leave as well). We have one or two question marks but, on the whole, we're keeping the core of our lads who've done us so well over the years.

“We need people we can trust and who trust us, and the club. That's why we want to work with the people we know. Obviously the two players leaving. For Sam it was a decision he made, he felt it was the right time to retire, so there wasn't much we could do about that. He's been great for us for the last three years but we'll have to move on from that. Jack had a few issues with where he's based. We like to have people close to the club, and sometimes a player needs a change as well.

“He's working in Kent and he lives in Hayling Island so, if you're having to travel from Hampshire, to Kent, to Slough, it's a really tough scenario.

“It would be difficult for him, and it's difficult for us as well.

“It's a shame because Jack's been a good keeper for us but it's probably best for him and it's probably best for us. Both of them have been massive parts of what we've done over the years but we have to move on.”

But there's also a sense of the Rebels' squad evolving, with the return of former players Davies and Lench to the fold following short stints away and the new arrivals of North from Wealdstone and Derry from Braintree Town.

“Lenchy wanted to give it a go with Wealdstone and he's sort of scratched that itch a little bit, and he can now come back and try to get this club back in and around the play-offs again,” said Baker. “He's a good player and a good character and he'll come back hungry.

“In his early years Scott had his well-documented problems with gambling and football wasn't a priority for him. I think football is a priority for him now and he takes it very seriously and works very hard so why wouldn't we want someone of his quality and character in our changing room. We trust him and he trusts us.”

“Tom Derry is 26 and has been around with Tonbridge and Braintree and Kingstonian. We've seen him a number of times over the years, he works hard for the team and is very good aerially. We want a team of workers who'll bust a gut for Slough and that's the type of character he is.”

Several players also impressed at a trial game last week for players from non-league steps 3-5 who were keen to put themselves on the Rebels' radar. A number of them did just that and Baker believes one or two of them could be signed up for the coming season if they continue to show promise during pre-season.

Baker also praised the club's new u23s set up and believes several players from that squad have the potential to step up to senior level football in the coming seasons.

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