Former Portsmouth defender seals move to Hawks

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Paul Doswell has swooped to bring ex-Pompey defender Sam Magri to Westleigh Park as he continues to completely rebuild the Hawks squad.

Magri becomes Doswell's ninth signing since he replaced Lee Bradbury as manager at the end of last season.

Doswell rates the locally-based player as one of his biggest signings of the summer.

‘I have watched Sam play a lot over the years and he is quality,’ said Doswell.

‘We are delighted to sign him and he is still only 25 years of age.

‘You don't normally get someone of his calibre at his age.

Sam Magri in action for Pompey against Brighton in July 2012. Pic: Toby Barton

Sam Magri in action for Pompey against Brighton in July 2012. Pic: Toby Barton

‘He was easily one of the best centre-halves in the National League last season.

‘His signing makes a lot of sense for both parties.

‘Travelling up to Ebbsfleet, making a two hour drive two or three times a week, eventually gets to you.

‘I found that with my travelling to Sutton United.

Sam Magri at Ebbsfleet United. Picture: Dave Plumb/Ebbsfleet United

Sam Magri at Ebbsfleet United. Picture: Dave Plumb/Ebbsfleet United

‘Also his wife has recently had a baby so he is keen to be closer to home. He only lives five minutes from the ground.’

Magri started in the youth and academy ranks at Pompey and made his professional debut against Plymouth Argyle in the 2012 League Cup.

After failing to make any league appearances he signed a two-year deal with QPR.

Again he couldn’T break into the senior side at Loftus Road and in July 2015 dropped into non-league with Dover Athletic.

In a two-year spell at the Crabble he made 86 appearances before joining Ebbsfleet United in 2017.

Magri is also a Malta international, playing in their 2018 World Cup qualifier against Slovenia.

‘Sam will be the perfect partner for the experienced Dean Beckwith in the middle of the defence,' said Doswell.

‘I managed to sell him the project that we have to get back into the National Conference at the earliest possible opportunity.

‘Apart from his ability as a player Sam is also a great character to have around the dressing room.’

Doswell admitted further signings are imminent as he continues to add to his squad.

The Hawks return to training tomorrow and will train three mornings this week ahead of their first pre-season friendly at Alresford Town on Saturday.

Following this, Doswell takes his team to Bognor Tuesday ahead of their showpiece friendly against Pompey at Westleigh Park on Saturday.

Early-bird season ticket sales have been pleasing and Doswell reckons this will be boosted still further with the arrival of the latest signings.

‘We are close to the 500 mark with season ticket sales,’ said Doswell.

‘I am confident we will reach this figure which will be a good effort first year around.'