Non League Daily

More Commit To Aveley

Ryman League Division One North club Aveley have announced some more players who have re-signed from last season's squad.

Last month the club announced that captain Billy Holland, as well as Danny Hopkins, Junior Appiah, Teddy Nesbitt and Spencer Harrison, had all committed themselves to the Millers for another season.

Now, Justin Gardner (pictured) has announced that Luke Wilson, Bradley Thomas, Ade Cole and Shane Oakley have signed on again with the Millers, as well as Aveley's 2012/13 Player's Player and Fans' Player of the Year, Jay Leader.

The re-signing of Leader in particular is a massive coup for Gardner and the club, as the former Dagenham & Redbridge defender has turned down some big money offers as well as offers from clubs as high as the Conference Premier in favour of staying with the Millers.

Leader even played in a trialists' match alongside Junior Appiah for Portsmouth a week ago, scoring a wonder goal in the process.

But the towering centre half, who was an ever present for the Millers last season making 44 appearances and scoring six goals, has decided to stay at Mill Field after telling Gardner: "I enjoy playing for you, I enjoy playing with the lads and I just enjoy playing my football here."

Shane Oakley is another huge signing for the Millers and the striker will feel that he has unfinished business from last season having missed a large chunk of the campaign due to heart problems.

In the 23 appearances that Oakley did make last term he scored 12 goals and was Aveley's leading goal-scorer before being struck down by illness around Christmas time.

He will look to carry on from where he left off last season and attempt to fill the void left by the departure of the 28-goal Jordan Cox.

Speaking of Oakley and Leader, Gardner said: "I can't put into words how important re-signing these two is. So many clubs have been in for Jay especially.

"Shane was our top goal scorer before having treatment for a heart condition in January, but for me if Shane plays a full season he will easily score 30 goals or more this season and I'm absolutely over the moon to have gotten his signature."

Gardner said following the play-off defeat to Maldon & Tiptree that keeping his squad together would be his biggest challenge and in the most part the Millers boss has managed to do just that, saying: "I've been patient and bar four or five players I've managed to keep hold of the boys that I've wanted to keep."

The signings of Leader and Oakley do not take anything away from the importance of the other three players that have also re-signed, all of whom are likely to play a massive part in the Millers' tilt at promotion this coming season.

Luke Wilson started last year's campaign with Aveley making 16 appearances, and he will be aiming to forge a centre-half partnership with Leader. Gardner said that the former Redbridge and Concord Rangers player is "very passionate and a great influence around the team".

He will have stiff competition though from new signing Jake McIntyre as well as another player to have re-signed, Bradley Thomas.

Thomas joined the Millers midway through last season after being released by AFC Sudbury and made 16 appearances.

Speaking about the former Boston United, Crawley Town and Braintree Town centre half, Gardner said: "To re-sign Bradley, I'm delighted.

"His experience will be so valuable to our team this season and to have him from the start of the season, having only joined us half way through last year, will be a huge bonus for us."

Ade Cole rounds off the list of those to re-sign at Mill Field, with the nippy winger hoping to drastically improve on his nine appearances last campaign.

The former Bishop's Stortford midfielder is described by Gardner as a "top player" and someone who will "play a huge part this season" having made just five starts in 2012/13.

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