MANAGER Marc Benterman has continued to fulfil his promise to Witham Town fans to maintain a strong local connection within his squad as he has kept his team building going at Spa Road.

Ahead of his team's first pre-season game of the summer - at Harwich & Parkeston on Saturday - Benterman has added familiar faces Liam Whipps, Shamido Pedulu and Jacob Cleaver to his roster, but the new Town boss hasn’t been afraid to also bring in talented players from outside the area as well.

Of the new additions this week, there are a couple who will be very familiar to Witham fans, with Whipps and Pedulu re-signing again this year and Cleaver making a return to the club after a number of years.

Benterman said: “It is key to have local lads who know the club when you are a community club like Witham.

“There’s no point if you have loads coming in from the outside.

“I know the talent that we have around and we are giving the best local boys a platform to show what they can do.

“I’m very excited about that and Liam Whipps is a perfect example.

“He is someone who has Witham running through his veins and I’ve seen the desire and hunger to play for this club so we are giving him the opportunity to express that.

“He had a very good loan spell (at Halstead Town) last year and will be my left back this year - he is a great lad, but more than that, he’s a hell of a player.

“And we’re delighted to see Shami (Pedulu) coming back.

“He has bought into what we are trying to do and excites us massively as he has more in his locker.

"We will get that out of him.

“Jacob is also back after being a part of the Witham side that won promotion from the Essex Senior League under Garry Kimble and he has impressed us all.

"He was at Concord Rangers and had a trial at AFC Bournemouth a few years ago, but he has that Witham connection that we feel is so important.”

But Benterman hasn’t been afraid to also reach further afield and has brought in talented young players who he knows are ready to step up.

He said: “Jett Hogan is a young striker who came through at Braintree Reserves and then at Stanway Rovers last year and he ticks all the boxes for us.

“He is also local and the fans will enjoy seeing him play this year.

“I know clubs at higher levels were interested in signing him so we were delighted to get it over the line with Jett.

“Another striker who will be an exciting signing is George Bugg as he is someone we have admired for a long time.

“He got 25 goals at Walsham le Willows last year and has scored more than 20 goals in the Thurlow Nunn League each year for the last four years.

"He will be a bit of an unknown quantity in the Isthmian League, but I know the talent that he has.

“We have also brought in Chris Taylor and he’ll play in central midfield, but with an ability to get forward as well.

“He has more than 150 appearances at step four for clubs like Tilbury and Romford and is a very intelligent lad who will be one of our senior players.

“He will enable the young lads around him to flourish as he has the experience to help the youngsters.”