Leiston boss Glenn Driver says it wasn’t an easy decision to release club legend Gareth Heath

Former Leiston midfielder Gareth Heath

Former Leiston midfielder Gareth Heath - Credit: Archant

Leiston manager Glenn Driver admitted his decision to release Gareth Heath was not taken lightly, but says his new signing, Chris Henderson, can have just as big an impact at Victory Road.

Heath (37) was allowed to leave the Coastal club at the end of the season, despite scoring 14 times and assisting a further 16 goals last term.

Heath gained legendary status at Victory Road, scoring over 100 goals in more than 250 appearances but will kick-off the new campaign at Bostik Premier rivals Needham Market, after signing a two-year deal with the Marketmen.

“I want to thank Gareth for everything he has done for Leiston and the decision to release him was not taken lightly,” said Driver.

“He is a fans’ favourite, a legend at the football club, but I have brought in Chris Henderson who is everything, if not more, that Gareth was last season.

“Gareth scored the most goals for us, alongside Byron Lawrence, from midfield and he also created chances.

“But I saw Chris on four occasions last season, and he was absolutely outstanding in every game and was one of the top-three midfielders in the division, in my opinion.

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“We have lost a number eight, but we are bring one in who is every bit as good.”

Meanwhile, Driver has backed midfielder Dominic Docherty to be a big success for the Blues, the youngster having signed from Lowestoft Town, along with Henderson and Leiston-born midfielder, Robert Eagle.

“He could be the star find,” added Driver.

“He played against us for Lowestoft last season and dominated the midfield along with Ryan Jarvis.

“He is an athlete; He is big, strong, six-foot tall and gives us something we probably didn’t have last season.”

Leiston lost 15 games last season, coming unstuck particularly in the second half of the season on heavy pitches against more physical opposition and during a packed fixture list.

“We came unstuck too many times, being too open, and didn’t have enough leaders,” Driver admitted.

“Although Dominic is young, he gets hold of people in difficult situations and will give us more physicality.”

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