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Johnson bags a famous five

STEVE Johnson completed what he called “a good night of business” when five players accepted offers of contracts at the Wessex Stadium last night.

Defenders Roy O’Brien and Bradley Thomas, midfielder Danny Byrne and wingers Darren Wheeler and Ludovic Cadima all agreed to make their stay with the Terras more long-term.

“We had more agents down here last night than they’ve got in the FBI,” joked the Terras head coach today.

“But to be fair they were all as good as gold and there were no problems at all.

They all agreed with what Matt McGowan had to offer straight away and to say that I am happy with our night’s work is an under-statement.”

Johnson also revealed that his signing spree may not yet be over.

“I just think we could do with a bit of cover in the form of an attacking midfielder or centre forward and then we can go into the next 14 games with a very strong squad,” he commented.

O’Brien, who impressed during a loan spell at the Wessex last month, has been released by Johnson’s brother, Yeovil boss Gary, to allow him to take up the Terras offer of a player-coach role.

The 30-year old Irishman’s decision to sign an 18 month contract will disappoint neighbours Dorchester.

They also had talks over the weekend with their former Player of the Year who left the Avenue Stadium to join the Glovers five seasons ago.

“I’m delighted to get Roy permanently,” said Johnson.

“He will bring a lot of experience to the side and yet he’s still got the legs for another five good seasons.

“He’s also got what I call a full-time pro mentality and signing him just shows the road we want to go down.”

Thomas, Cadima, Byrne and Wheeler, who have both been on short-term or non-contract deals with the Terras, have committed themselves to the club for another three months with an option that could see them all return to the Wessex Stadium next season.

“I have been very impressed with them all in the games they have played for us so far and I’m delighted to have persuaded them to see out the season here with the possibility of keeping them for next season too,” said the Terras coach today.

“They are just the kind of hungry young players I want to build my side on.”

Twenty-year-old Thomas was recommended to Johnson by Barry Fry, the colourful boss of Peterborough United who has now given him a free transfer.

The Jamaican Under-23 international scored the winner on his debut for the Terras at Carshalton
Athletic last month and Johnson says: “He’s raw now but he’s going to be some player.”

Thomas told Echosport: “I’ve really enjoyed my time at Wey mouth over the last few weeks.

I didn’t get too many chances at first team level at Peterborough and I’ve been sent out to a few clubs on loan over the last year or so.

“One of those was Aldershot and being at Weymouth is a very similar experience for me.

Both clubs are ambitious and have big support for the level they are at.

“I’ve settled in well and it’s a good dressing room to be around because they are a great bunch of lads with
an excellent team spirit.

That was clear to see after Saturday’s win at Basingstoke and hopefully now we can go on a run and get into the play-offs.

“Steve Johnson is building a good team and although we can still make the play-offs this season, the signs look good for next year even if we don’t.”

Cadima, who came to Weymouth via Bristol City where he was on trial, is an 18-year-old product of the youth system at Belgian giants Anderlecht.

“He’s the kind of exciting attacker the fans love and I reckon his pace and skill is going to terrorise defenders in our league,” said Johnson who also revealed that 19-year-old former Guildford and Godalming midfielder Wheeler had turned down offers from both Aldershot and Farnborough to join Weymouth.

• Transfer-listed Steve Tully will play for Weymouth Reserves in a behind closed doors friendly against Plymouth Argyle at Home Park tonight (7pm).

Striker Lee Phillips is also likely to start along with a couple of un-named trialists.

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