One in, one out at Braintree Town

ALAN Devonshire swooped to sign Exeter City youngster Callum McNish yesterday, on the same day as one of Braintree Town’s success stories of last season departed the Iron.

The Town boss snapped up 20-year-old midfielder McNish from the West Country club but was dealt a blow when highly-rated left-back Aswad Thomas, pictured right, joined Blue Square Bet Premier League rivals, Grimsby Town.

Thomas made 43 appearances, scoring five goals in his only season at the Amlin Stadium, following his switch from Woking last summer, but his form alerted both domestic and national scouts – the 22-year-old earning a call-up to the England C squad.

Thomas has signed for the Mariners on a two-year deal and Devonshire confessed he was sad to see the former Charlton youngster leave.

However, he was delighted to have secured the services of McNish, who began his career with Southampton and played in the same Saints’ youth team as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

The Oxford-born schemer made a handful of appearances for the Grecians last season and was booked at St. James Park as Exeter drew 1-1 with Colchester in March.

“Callum is very good technically, he is mobile and has a lot of potential,” said Devonshire.

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“We had him alerted to us and we have been monitoring him for about the last six weeks.

“At the age of 20 he is a player we can look to develop and having spoken to (Exeter manager) Paul Tisdale, he is a player that is highly regarded down there.”

As for Thomas, Devonshire revealed he was already busy searching for a replacement for the defender and could draft someone in, in the next fortnight.

“Aswad did not want to be at the club,” said Devonshire, of the full-back who has penned a two-year deal at Blundell Park.

“But I am talking to someone who plays in that position and I may have a deal done in the next couple of weeks.”

Thomas’ departure is the third high-profile exit from the Essex club this season, following those of midfielder Jai Reason and striker Ben Wright, who scored 18 goals for the Iron last season.

“We were disappointed to see Aswad go but we have got what we wanted,” said Devonshire, whose club will receive an undisclosed fee for Thomas.

“We have lost Aswad, Jai and Ben and all three were very good for us last season. But we have got to look ahead and if we can improve on last season (12th place) then I will be very happy.

“Getting to that 50-point mark has to be the target again.”

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