Paulsgrove ‘coup’ in signing long-serving Baffins Milton Rovers midfielder Shane Cornish

Shane Cornish, left, has dropped down to the Hampshire Premier League to sign for Paulsgrove.Shane Cornish, left, has dropped down to the Hampshire Premier League to sign for Paulsgrove.
Shane Cornish, left, has dropped down to the Hampshire Premier League to sign for Paulsgrove.
Wayne Grant is hopeful the coup of tempting Shane Cornish to Paulsgrove can help the club solve a major problem.

The former Baffins Milton Rovers midfielder has agreed to drop down two divisions to the Hampshire League Premier Division for the forthcoming season.

And Grove boss Grant sees his creativity as a valuable asset as his squad target a top-three finish in 2020/21.

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Cornish featured just six times for Baffins last season after breaking his leg last August in an FA Cup tie against Alresford.

Previously, he was a regular in the club’s rise through the grassroots divisions.

He helped Baffins win two Hampshire Premier League titles in 2013/14 and 2015/16 - scoring 13 times in 28 games in the latter - and played 26 matches when Rovers won promotion from Division 1 of the Wessex in 2016/17.

Cornish featured 28 times during Baffins’ first season of Wessex Premier football in 2017/18.

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Grant is hoping to give him a platform to rediscover his best form.

And with strikers Danny Lane and Zak Willett backed to find the net frequently, Cornish is the key to creating chances.

‘Shane’s been what we’ve been lacking for the past few years,' insisted Grant.

‘He’s got a sweet left foot, he’s a real creative midfielder.

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‘We’ve got two strikers that are going to be scoring a lot of goals and we need the creation to be there for them.

'It is a good coup for the club, we’ve made quite a few good signings over the close season really.

'Shane coming along is a massive boost.

‘We’re under no illusions that we’ve offered him the chance to get himself fit and playing again really.'

Cornish is not the only player with Wessex League experience Paulsgrove have attracted as ex-Moneyfields and Horndean man Dan Martin has also signed.

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Meanwhile, striker Zak Willett has arrived from Sunday football - he played for North End Cosmos in Division 1 of the Portsmouth League last season - while Alex Milroy is back from a long suspension.

It's not just on the field where Grant has recruited well, though.

Former Baffins assistant manager Steve Ledger is now number two at Paulsgrove.

And boss Grant feels things are looking positive for the season ahead.

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‘Having Steve involved was a massive part of getting Shane in,' he added.

‘Dan Martin, who has Wessex experience as well, will really add to the squad.

‘We’re trying to do things the right way.

‘Last season we lost a lot of players and we were on a bit of a turnaround really.

‘But we’ve done it the right way, we’ve built, I’ve got the right management team in the reserves and on the coaching side of things as well.

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‘We’ve got Tom Doughty who has come over and is another creative player.

‘Alex Milroy is going to be back from his long suspension, he’ll like a new signing for us.

‘But we’ve got a lot of creativity now so it’s looking good.

'I'm looking forward to it.'

Paulsgrove kick-off their pre-season preparations with a fixture against AFC Portchester's first team and reserves this Saturday at the Crest Finance Stadium.

They then travel to Moneyfields next Tuesday (7pm) for another friendly.