Fareham Town welcome back defender Archie Willcox after brief summer stints at Gosport Borough and AFC Portchester
Defender Archie Willcox has returned to Fareham Town after departing the club earlier this summer.
The highly rated 19-year-old spent some time with Shaun Gale's Southern League Premier South Gosport Borough in pre-season before opting to join the Reds' Wessex League Premier League rivals AFC Portchester earlier this month.
However, Willcox's Royals stay would prove to be a brief one, with Fareham now recapturing their former centre-back.
Fareham boss Pete Stiles had no qualms with the teenager trying his luck to win a deal higher up the pyramid, although he is delighted to have the bright prospect back at the club for this season.
Stiles said: ‘We never wanted to lose him in the first place but he’s gone and had a look around, seen what else is out there - I’ve got to admit I would have been disappointed had he gone to another Wessex League club like he did. But he also went to Gosport and he’s decided he wants to be back at Fareham for now.
‘I expect him to kick on in the future and move on up the ladder but right now I think this is the right place for him.
‘He’s been with us a couple of years now, he came from kids football to Fareham and he was going to be in the reserves but I liked the look of him and he’s been pretty regular ever since.
‘He’s got the potential to be a very good player. He’s looked elsewhere, he’s had his head turned, he hasn’t liked what he’s seen and he’s come back here.’
Willcox could be in line to feature for Fareham in their Wessex Premier meeting with Bashley on Saturday, while Garry Moody is back available after serving his suspension.
But Stiles still remains without a number of first-team players for the visit of the New Forest side.
The Fareham boss added: ‘A lot came in for treatment (on Tuesday), we’ve got a lot still injured and I gave some of them a night off.
‘Unfortunately we were going to give Connor Messenbird a run-out last night (against Gosport under-23s) and he lasted as long as the warm-up and he twisted his ankle so that’s him gone again.
‘Luckily, now we’ve got Archie back and we’ve got Garry Moody available after his suspension now.
‘Luke Slade has come back but he’s been out with Covid and was knackered after half-hour (against Gosport under-23s) so we don’t know how long it’ll take to get him back to full fitness.
'We’ve got to try to get our first three points of the season, that’s what we’ll be looking to do.’