ASHINGTON CFC’s Gareth Rees has set his sights firmly on next season.
For the tall defender has recently undergone laser surgery on his eyes and is now ready to fight for a place in the starting XI come the new campaign.
Rees, 31, a commercial manager for a construction company, said: “I’ve been waiting to have this done for a few years but it was a case of finding the most convenient time.
“I had a consultation in March and a slot became available in late April, and with the campaign drawing to a close, and with me not being involved in the side for various reasons, I thought it was a good time to get things sorted.
“I used to wear contact lenses but now my vision is even better – it’s perfect and feels more comfortable – and competing in heading duels is going to be more beneficial.”
Rees, pictured, has just completed his third term with the senior side at Woodhorn Lane after previously playing for the reserve side Ashington Colliers.
He added: “My strengths are my physicality and aerial ability at the back.
“Manager Gary Middleton and his assistant Neil Winskill know they can rely on me.”
Reflecting on the campaign just ended where Ashington finished fifth in the STL Northern League’s first division, Rees said: “We did really well and there were some memorable matches along the way, including those in the FA Cup and FA Carlsberg Vase.”
But now his eyes are fixed on August.
“Personally, I’d like to improve on the season just ended and look to maintain a position in the starting XI,” he said.
“I want to by vying for a place at the back.”
Middleton said: “Gareth was a major part of the squad last season.
“He never let us down and he is definitely a player we want within our squad next term, pushing for a place in the first XI.
“Gareth has shown a first class attitude whether he has been in or out of the team and is a great lad to have around the club.”