By Brian Bennett

Charlie Exley – one of a plethora of new signings made by Ashington FC manager Ian Skinner – says he is ‘buzzing’ and ‘can’t wait’ to join his team mates for the pre season programme.

The Newcastle-born defender who was formerly with Queen of the South and Consett, said: “I’m delighted to be on board and excited about meeting the new lads who have come into the squad as well as the players from last year. I usually try to keep myself ticking over during the close season but there’s nothing better than going to a new club pre season because it gives you an extra boost. To be honest, I’m buzzing and can’t wait.”

He continued: “I’ve got plenty of endeavour; I know what I can produce and I’ll be looking to do that on a consistent basis. The manager (Ian Skinner) has built on top of an already good squad and I think we will be a surprise package in the league. I reckon we’ll cause a bit of an upset but it’s important that we look to get off to a good start.”

However the 22 year old defender is keeping his fingers crossed for better luck as he heads into the 2023/24 campaign: “I have done my Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) on two occasions,” he added, “The first time I think I was the youngest person to suffer that kind of injury being only nine years old and the last time was in August 2021. I had my operation six months later and when I returned to football, Ashington’s assistant manager Andy Coyles – who at the time was manager at Consett – integrated me back into the squad. I played my first game for Andy away to Ossett then he left the club. I made 13 more appearances for Consett then in the match at Bridlington, I broke my hand. Consequently I’m hoping for a bit more luck!”

Ashington FC manager Ian Skinner said: “Charlie is a product of the Gateshead Youth Academy who went to play at Queen of the South but unfortunately things didn’t quite work out for him. He spent last season at Consett but had a couple of injuries which meant he didn’t play as many games as he would have liked. We are looking forward to getting him back to full fitness; getting him onto the pitch; working with him and again he is somebody who will challenge and push to try and fulfil that potential because he’s ambitious and wants to kick on.”