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Town Confirm Triple Signing
Monday, 17th Aug 2020 14:16

Town have confirmed the signings of left-back Stephen Ward, keeper David Cornell and striker Oli Hawkins.

Ward, who has been given the number three shirt, has put pen to paper on a one-year deal with an option for a further season, and Cornell, who will wear 28, and Hawkins, the Blues’ new number 32 shirt, two-year contracts, both also with an option for an additional campaign. All three were free agents prior to joining Town.

Cornell, 29, was initially mentioned in connection with the Blues in December, again in January and more recently July with a host of other clubs said to have been monitoring his situation.

The Welshman left the Cobblers at the end of their successful League Two promotion season having rebuffed the offer of a new contract.

Born in Waunarlwydd, Cornell started his career at Swansea during which time he had spells on loan at Port Talbot, Hereford, St Mirren and Portsmouth before moving on to Oldham in the summer of July 2015 having made only one League Cup appearance for the Swans.

In June 2016 he joined Northampton and went on to make 107 starts and one sub appearance while at Sixfields, helping them to win promotion to League One via the play-offs last season.

The 6ft 2in tall keeper was reportedly close to a first Wales call-up last season having won caps at U17, U19 and U21 levels.

A big frontman was known to be among manager Paul Lambert’s main targets this summer and at 6ft 5in tall former Portsmouth man Hawkins certainly fits that bill.

The 28-year-old, who TWTD revealed was in talks with the Blues on Thursday, started his career in non-league with North Greenford, Hillingdon Borough, Northwood, Hemel Hempstead Town and Harrow Borough.

The Ealing-born striker got his break in league football when Dagenham and Redbridge signed him in January 2016.

In August 2017, with the Daggers by now in the National League, Hawkins moved on to Portsmouth.

The centre forward, who has also often operated at centre-half, scored 18 goals in 71 starts and 25 sub appearances before being released by Pompey, with whom he won the EFL Trophy in 2018/19, when his contract was up this summer.

Last season he was rarely involved, and when he was usually in central defence, failing to find the net in nine starts and four sub appearances.

Hawkins was previously linked with the Blues in January 2017 when he was with the Daggers with Town subsequently signing another towering striker, Kieffer Moore, from Forest Green Rovers.

On the day Moore joined the Blues, ex-Town winger Darren Currie, then the Daggers' assistant manager, gave BBC Radio Suffolk's Life's a Pitch his thoughts on the pair.

“Oliver’s very similar to Kieffer Moore, obviously I’m going to be biased and say Oliver’s better!” Currie said.

“He’s another one that for a big man is good on the floor, very mobile for a big man, he’s got goals. He’s filled in at centre-half for us once or twice and he’s looked very comfortable there as well.

“He’s a great kid to work with, very humble boy, came from Hemel Hempstead, so his roots are very good and he’s gathering interest as well because he’s been playing very well.”

Ward, 34, who was released by Stoke at the end of last season, joined up with the Town squad for training last Monday and evidently quickly impressed the Town management.

The Dubliner, who was initially a striker, started his career with hometown club Bohemians before joining Wolves, at the time managed by Mick McCarthy, in January 2007 with then-Town boss Jim Magilton having confirmed that the Blues were also interested.

Ward spent seven years at Molineux featuring regularly in the Premier League before moving on to Burnley in 2014.

After five further seasons in the top flight at Turf Moor, the 5ft 11in tall left-back or winger moved to Stoke last summer. However, he made only 17 appearances and left at the end of the season. Ward has been capped 50 times by the Republic of Ireland, scoring three times.

Given Town’s limited scope for additions within the salary cap, Ward’s signing ends the Blues’ interest in bringing former loanee Luke Garbutt back to Portman Road on a permanent basis.

Photo: ITFC

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peteswindon added 14:21 - Aug 17
Wellcome lads, lets hope they can help us kick on. COYB

aas1010 added 14:21 - Aug 17
Cool 😃

Terry_Nutkins added 14:22 - Aug 17
Welcome all 3. Was initially a bit underwhelmed and out if order about Oli but it just makes sense the more you think about it and his recent record also makes more sense given he played a lot a CB. Good luck lads!

chepstowblue added 14:25 - Aug 17
Happy with the 2 outfield additions as we do lack physicality at times. Welcome on board.

Bert added 14:26 - Aug 17
Timely and positive news at a time when many clubs will struggle to do any business. The additions may not excite many but we have added experience, height and competition for places. Now let's go and bully the opposition, score some goals and cut out the mistakes.

BlueandTruesince82 added 14:26 - Aug 17
Love a striker that play CB... thats old school.

Bam Bam mark 2.

Terry_Nutkins added 14:27 - Aug 17
Phil this has thrown the heights out the window again...Ward looks way taller than 5'11 and Cornell...6ft 1 tops...


PhilTWTD added 14:34 - Aug 17

Think they are right, have checked both. Cornell may still be in question as his height has been quoted variously but as previously 6ft 2in does seem to be stated most often.

Counagoal added 14:34 - Aug 17
I’m happy with these signings. Hawkins offers something different to our current strikers, and will stop us lumping it to poor Norwood. Last 20 if we are chasing the game someone like Hawkins will be a great option to bring on. Ward has bags of experience and at league one level I think will be very solid. Don’t know much about Cornell but can’t be any worse than Norris!

BeattiesBackPocket added 14:54 - Aug 17
Happy with the ward signing as we don’t really have any leaders on the pitch and I think he’ll give us that. We’ve also needed some height up front I just pray that with that option the balls not lumped all the time but time will tell.
Fingers crossed for these guys whether underwhelmed or not they need a chance. I don’t buy this or that players a ‘reject’ because most players are rejects at some point so let’s hope this works

cornishblu added 14:54 - Aug 17
Welcome all three
Sadly it’s the level we are now at and need to get out of .
Bright side about the wage cap though is that no one is going to be stupid risks each can be in no more than 2-3k a week so if it doesn’t work out we haven’t lost a fortune .......and if one works that we keep one goes wrong and another sells we have every chance of getting the money back for all three salaries .
We still need a goal scorer to put the pressure on those we already have ....Oli,s stats suggest it’s nit going to be him , so another in the window wouldn’t go amiss
Like the sound of ward though if he is a leader ....as our captain is anything but on the pitch . Need someone to organise and shout at players not just look on in disbelief at every other player when you yourself have just yet another mistake

danchances22 added 14:56 - Aug 17
Players no one else was interested in, Fantastic business by #ITFC. This club is broken

ArnieM added 15:01 - Aug 17
Welcome to ITFC fellas.
Let’s get the job done this season 👍

Ryorry added 15:05 - Aug 17
Welcome to the lads.

What a beast Hawkins looks! hope he'll be our Murphy mark 2. Good to have added to our defence too, hope Ward still has plenty of legs left in him.

blue86 added 15:11 - Aug 17
I am pleased with this, a target man, decent keeper (from what I have read/heard) plus in ward some experience. Good luck!

mojo added 15:19 - Aug 17
Cornell does look really short between the other two, somewhat worrying as he is the keeper. Is he stood in a dip?

runaround added 15:21 - Aug 17
Welcome to ITFC lads

dominiciawful added 15:24 - Aug 17
Good news.

Ryorry added 15:28 - Aug 17
Paul Cooper was only 5'11", mojo! :)

SouperJim added 15:29 - Aug 17
Solid signings given the very challenging circumstances. Presuming he has plenty left, Ward in particular could be a really important addition for us to shore up the defence as we've been leaky on the left. With KVY back we might actually have a decent back line.

Ryorry added 15:31 - Aug 17
And Laurie Sivell only 5'8"! :))

DebsyAngel added 16:16 - Aug 17
Welcome to all three of you - good luck.

mojo added 16:29 - Aug 17
Ryorry. I know, it just looked a bit comical with him between the other two. I actually think he could be the pick of the 3 signings, he just looks a little shorter than I was ecpecting. I wish all 3 well in their time at the club of course.

tractorboybig added 16:42 - Aug 17
waste of time while you have dickhead as the manager

itfckenty added 16:52 - Aug 17
Welcome lads! No point in being negative about these guys, I know they might not be who you would all want, but that doesn't mean they won't perform. Some players have been known to hit their stride after very unsuccessful seasons and have made a name for themselves. These could do the same. Keep positive and let's get the season off to a great start. COYB

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