By Terry Phillips
Multi-talented Lewis Binns believes believes Merthyr Town will flourish in the Southern League Premier Division during the 2020-21 season.
The former Cardiff City and Newport County youth midfielder is among 15 senior players who have committed to the Martyrs and said: “The manager has signed a few young players who have been at professional clubs and they will be quick and technically extremely good.
“We’ll have a good mix of experience and youth and I’m really looking forward to seeing what we can do and how we can develop as a squad.
“Personally, last season is one I’m pretty happy to write off after missing nearly a year of football through injury.
“Now, I’m looking to prove myself and have a full and successful season. I’m looking forward to getting back out there, injury-free, and helping the team finish as high up the table as possible.”
Chepstow-born Binns, 24, played for England against Wales at under-18 level and studied at Wyedean School in the Forest of Dean, plus Hartpury College, Gloucestershire.
He was a sports therapist at PRO14 professional rugby region, the Dragons, and now holds the same position at League Two Newport County.
Who’s been your favourite signing? pic.twitter.com/GRx0OZWc65
— The Martyrs (at ) (@MerthyrTownFC) August 4, 2020
Binns is a gifted left-footed footballer who poses a particular threat to the opposition when delivering from set pieces and firing in crosses.
Merthyr Town players return for the start of pre-season training at the MetCoaches Stadium this week, more than 150 days since they last played, against Salisbury City.
The first of a handful of pre-season friendlies has been confirmed with Merthyr travelling to Bristol Manor Farm on Saturday, September 5.
“I’m excited to get going again,” Binns told merthyrtownfc.co.uk. “It’s probably been the longest break most of us have ever had from football and it’s been a strange experience, but we should all be refreshed and ready to go.
“It’s going to be an odd season with the late start date and financial situations that some clubs may be in, but I feel like it could put everyone on a level playing field and starting in the same position which will be interesting to see.”
The new Southern League season is due to start on Saturday, September 19, while Merthyr have been working hard throughout lockdown to arrange friendlies against local and higher calibre teams.
Those plans, however, have been re-considered as without fans, hosting friendlies against bigger clubs would not be as financially beneficial.
A club statement read: “Understandably, that is frustrating for all involved, especially for manager Gavin Williams, who aims to have a range of testing pre-season fixtures to ensure the Martyrs are ready for when they return to league action.”
More information about the following initiatives can be found at:
Boost The Budget – https://www.merthyrtownfc.co.uk/news/btb2020/
2020-21 Season Tickets & Memberships – https://www.merthyrtownfc.co.uk/news/202021-season-tickets-available-now/
Merthyr Town squad 2020-21: Kelland Absalom (gk), Jarrad Welch, Elias Youssef, Adam Davies, Lewis Binns, Ismail Yakubu, Corey Jenkins, Eli Phipps, Camden Duncan, Ben Swallow. Dan Summerfield, Eliot Richards, Kerry Morgan, Lee Hartshorn, Tom Hillman.
Players who have moved on: Jarrad Wright, Gethyn Hill, Lee Lucas, Ian Traylor, Owain. Jones, Alex Harris (gk).
The Football Association have confirmed the teams who will compete in Southern League Premier South during 2020-21.
The teams are as follows:
1 Beaconsfield Town
2 Chesham United
3 Dorchester Town
5 Gosport Borough
6 Harrow Borough
7 Hartley & Wintney
8 Hayes & Yeading United
10 Merthyr Town FC
11 Metropolitan Police
12 Poole Town
14 Swindon Supermarine
15 Taunton Town
16 Tiverton Town
17 Truro City
18 Walton Casuals
20 Wimborne Town
21 Yate Town
Blackfield & Langley won’t compete in Premier South season due to a voluntary relegation.