Lee returns to Ram Meadow

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DIRECTOR of football Trevor Collins believes the capture of Lee Smith could be “the missing piece of the puzzle” after the midfielder returned to Bury Town this week.

As exclusively reported in last week’s Bury Free Press, the Blues were closing in on their fourth summer signing, and it was confirmed yesterday morning that Smith was the man they were chasing.

Since leaving Ram Meadow two years ago, Smith has made more than 60 appearances for Histon, but was eager to sign up at his former club following the Stutes’ demise from the Blue Square Bet Premier.

“We were always aware of his situation, but he contacted us to say he wanted to come back,” said Collins. “We met with him and agreed terms.

“This is great news for us because it could be the missing piece of the puzzle.”

The 23-year-old operated primarily as a right-sided midfielder during his previous stint in Suffolk, but can also play in the centre of midfield or at the back.

Manager Wilkins added: “It’s a great aquisition for the the team — we rate him very highly.

“He came through West Suffolk Football Academy, so I’ve known him since he was 15 or 16.

“When we found out he was available we had no hesitation in going for him. He’s one of the most naturally-gifted players I’ve ever had at Bury.”

Meanwhile, Bury fans hope to see right-back Russell Short and central midfielder Callum Kearns back to full fitness by the time the new campaign kicks off on August 20. Short has undergone a successful operation on his hernia, while Kearns continues to recover from a serious knee injury sustained during last October’s FA Cup third qualifying round replay defeat at Staines Town.

The Blues were back in pre-season training last night, with a number of players set to be looked at on trial.

n Bury’s first friendly is at Newmarket Town on Friday, July 15 (7.45pm).

Full details of their pre-season fixtures on Page 157.