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Former favourite Phil is returning to Regent
BRIGHTLINGSEA REGENT have given themselves a major boost on the eve of tomorrow’s big FA Vase tie against Team Bury.
Former favourite Phil Kelly is rejoining the club and should be registered in time for their first-round tie at North Road.
Striker Kelly was a hit during his previous spell but decided to move to on pastures new in June, switching to Thurlow Nunn League premier division rivals Hadleigh United.
However, he has found his first-team opportunities limited at Millfield and contacted Brightlingsea manager James Webster on Wednesday.
“We’re delighted to have Phil back,” said the Regent boss.
“He’d admit that things haven’t really worked out at Hadleigh.
“He hasn’t been getting regular football and we’ve been in contact anyway, because he and I and friends outside football.
“I’m really pleased because on his day Phil’s unplayable.
“He’s one of those players who can produce moments of magic to completely change a game.”
Hadleigh have agreed to deregister Kelly and waive any need for an official seven-day approach, so as long as the paperwork is completed in time, he should be free to line-up against Team Bury.
Webster is looking forward to another Vase tie, having enjoyed a run to the third round last season before losing out to Brantham Athletic.
“There was a real buzz during our run last season,” said the Regent boss.
“We got to one round before it went national, so it was a great experience and something we all enjoyed.”
Webster says there is no danger of Regent under-estimating Team Bury.
The Suffolk side dispatched Halstead Town in the second qualifying round, winning 3-0.
“We always prefer being underdogs, but this time I guess we’re the favourites because we’re in the premier division.
“There’s no chance of us under-estimating Team Bury, though.
“We know it won’t be easy but will be as professional as possible and try and do the right things.”
Webster has a fully-fit squad, apart from long-term injury victim Sam Holman.
The club have also added a new goalkeeper to their ranks, bringing in Elliott Ringe from Wivenhoe Town.
The youngster will provide competition for regular number one Dan Beeson.