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Hungerford Town striker James Harding is ready for the National League South challenge

New Crusaders striker aims to ‘hit the ground running’ at Bulpit Lane when the new season begins

Liam Headd

Liam Headd

liam.headd@newburynews.co.uk

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01635 886629

Hungerford Town striker James Harding is ready for the National League South challenge

NEW Hungerford Town striker James Harding is ready to embrace a new challenge as he prepares for life in the National League South.

The 23-year-old is one of Danny Robinson’s new signings at Bulpit Lane, after completing a move from Southern League Division 1 South side Cinderford Town.

Harding arrives in West Berkshire with a strong record, having scored 21 goals in 24 starts for Cinderford before the season was ended due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Harding said: “I’m absolutely delighted to be a Hungerford Town player and I can’t wait for the season to start whenever it’s safe to do so.

“I’m looking forward to meeting the rest of the boys and all the people associated with the club as I’ve heard great things.

“Danny asked me if I fancied the step up and for me it was a no brainer – as soon as I met and spoke with him, I knew it was the right move and agreed to sign.”

The striker played, and scored, against Robinson’s former side, Thatcham Town, this season and it’s clear that this was a big part in the move happening.

Harding has played against Robinson a number of times, but now he’s looking forward to working alongside him.

“I can’t wait to get started and work under Danny,” he said. “I’ve only ever heard good things about him as a manager and his track record speaks for itself.

“For me, it was clear that playing for him at Hungerford was the right decision.

“It was one of the reasons why I decided to join Hungerford, because it’s a massive opportunity for me.”

- Danny Robinson is 'excited' for the challenge at Hungerford.

Having played at this level before, at Gloucester City, Harding believes he’s more experienced to handle himself.

He said: “I had a small glimpse at this level when I was 18 with Gloucester City and in hindsight I wasn’t 100-per-cent ready.

“Since then, I have managed to score over 50 senior goals at Southern League level and now I want to show that I’m capable of scoring goals in the National League South.”

Despite not being able to train due to lockdown measures, the 23-year-old has been working at home to ensure he’s ready for the new campaign.

He said: “I can purely focus on getting myself fit and strong for the new season.

“One of my friends has sent me over his football club’s off-season programme and I’ve been closely following that.

“There’s a mixture of runs and bodyweight gym sessions which I’ve enjoyed doing.

“I’ve set myself some targets for this season and in order to reach those I need to come back and hit the ground running.”

Hungerford have also retained the services of George Smith, Tommy Rees, James Rusby, Conor Lynch, Matt Berry-Hargreaves and Dan Bailey.

Meanwhile, Callum Willmoth and Matt Partridge, who have played for Hungerford previously, have re-joined from Thatcham while Kyle Tooze and Babz Jarra have also joined the club.

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