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WALKER’s return a big boost

Josh Walker can draw on his experience playing for the England Students to be a ‘problem solver’ for Bury St Edmunds next season.

The former Bury youth player is one of 21 new signings to be announced at the Haberden this week, with director of rugby Gavin Hogg insisting a big squad will be needed for them to compete in their first season in National League Two South.

“During the off-season we wanted to maintain 90 per cent of the squad from last season to give us a good starting point,” Hogg said. “Then we could identify where we wanted to strengthen.

“There will be a great deal of rotation with the squad but what we’ve got is a good blend of experience and youth.”

Walker has been announced as Bury’s first-team captain for the upcoming campaign, with winger Chris Snelling (pictured right) taking on the role of club captain.

Twenty-four-year-old lock Walker has plenty of credentials having featured for England Students and Welsh Premiership side Bedwas, and Hogg tips him to be a key man for Bury this season.

“Josh went off to further his career at Cardiff University, England Students and in the Welsh Premiership,” he said.

“Josh is a big asset and comes to us now with great pedigree. He’s a problem solver.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity to get him back here and he will be key to us, being one of the players who is accustomed to that level we are now playing in.”

Among the new faces at Bury are former Sale Sharks back row Ben Davey, Norwich duo Matt Selby and Dave Micklethwaite and Shelford’s John Hall. Sean Stapleton and Cronan Gleeson will boost Hogg’s back row options, with ex-Cambridge pair Ben Cooper and Joe Reid increasing the number of prop forwards available.

Full-back Chris Lord comes in with experience at the Bedford Blues and England Under-18s, while Clement Le Roy and Dan Collins have played away from British soil.

Oliver Snook, Gary Andrews and Spencer Pettitt provide new options as centres, while Matt Hema and Zane Butler bolster the number of wingers in the squad.

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