Root returns to the Humbugs as Hurkett departs

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Latest sport news from the Suffolk Free Press, suffolkfreepress.co.uk, @sfpsudbury on Twitter

Halstead Town have bolstered their squad ahead of their first pre-season friendly this weekend with the return of striker Jon Root.

The former Humbugs forward returns to Rosemary Lane following a spell at Thurlow Nunn League First Division rivals Braintree Town Reserves last season.

While midfielder Lee Hurkett has left for promotion rivals Haverhill Borough by mutual consent following talks with Town manager Mark Benterman.

“We sat down and agreed by mutual consent that he would be leaving the club,” said the Halstead boss. “Lee wanted more game time next season which I couldn’t promise him.”

Town host Skrill Conference South side Concord Rangers this Saturday (3pm) to kick-off their pre-season friendlies before entertaining Ryman League Premier outfit Witham Town on Tuesday (7.45pm).

And the Halstead chief cannot wait to test his squad against a range of higher-level opposition over the next few weeks.

“Training is going really well and we’re all ready to go,” said Benterman. “It’s going to be a tough game for us but we’ll be looking to take the positives.

“The squad is up to 22/23 players, with 95 per cent of last season’s squad signed up for next season.”

Halstead have also confirmed two more new signings to the club in the last week, including full-back Bradley James from the Ryman League Division One North’s Heybridge Swifts.

Midfielder Matt Knight has also joined the Humbugs from Witham Town.

Benterman’s side will start their FA Cup campaign against Spartan South Midlands League side St Margaretsbury in the extra preliminary round.

The Bury are set to visit Rosemary Lane on Saturday, August 16 (3pm), with the winner at home to the Ryman League Division One North’s Romford in the next round.

Halstead have been drawn at home to fellow First Division rivals Woodbridge Town in the second qualifying round of the FA Vase on October 4 (3pm).