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Weymouth retain defender Callum Buckley

WEYMOUTH have retained the services of dependable left-back Callum Buckley for the 2019/20 National League South season.

Buckley, who struggled for fitness late last season with a persistent knee injury, is set to embark on his third successive campaign with the Southern League champions.

The former Bournemouth man joins fellow defenders Stephane Zubar, Ashley Wells and Calvin Brooks in having signed deals during the close season.

Speaking to Echosport, Weymouth’s director of football Paul Maitland revealed the club had been keen to wait on the outcome of Buckley’s minor knee problem.

He said: “It was a case of making sure that he was fully recovered from his injury that kept him out for so long at the end of the season.

“He’s going to be fit for pre-season. He had a tough year with injuries and struggled to get a real run of games together at any point.

“He always contributed when he was available, so we’re hoping that we get the Callum Buckley of year one who played a lot of games and was one of our more consistent performers – I can’t see any reason why we wouldn’t.

“He’s been working hard to get himself back to full fitness. He played 60-odd games in his first season and last season it’s not like he didn’t play, he just struggled to get form together because of injuries he kept picking up and couldn’t quite get himself going.

“We’re pleased to keep him on board, he’s a good footballer. Again, he’s the right age, right attitude, he’s keen still to do well in the game.”

Maitland added that the move to secure Buckley for next season had eventually been a simple one.

“For us, it was a fairly easy decision to make once we knew he was going to be clear of his injuries,” he said.

“If the season was going on a lot longer he would’ve been back playing – he only just missed the end of the season.

“He obviously came in with Jake (McCarthy) and the other lads from Bournemouth and settled well. He’ll be a welcome addition to have back next year.

“He’s a solid performer, doesn’t let you down and is a steady Eddie – but you need players like that who know what they’re doing, who are calm and always do well.

“The key thing for him is pre-season, getting that match sharpness back and getting himself ready to go. He will be a really good player at this level.”

Elaborating on Buckley’s injury, Maitland said: “It was nothing serious, it just needed rest.

“I think if we really had to press him into playing (last season) he would’ve done. That’s basically all it was.

“He was working hard at the end of the season getting his fitness back but we didn’t press him into action because we didn’t feel we needed to and didn’t want to push him out for longer going into this season.

“He’s been a decent performer in a Weymouth shirt and would expect him to be again.”

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