NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Assistant boss full of respect for departed Soham Town Rangers man Gary Cohen

Gary Cohen, third left, celebrates after scoring for Soham Town Rangers against Canvey Island last s

Gary Cohen, third left, celebrates after scoring for Soham Town Rangers against Canvey Island last season. Picture: ANDY BURFORD - Credit: Archant

Assistant boss Erkan Okay has paid tribute to Gary Cohen following the player’s Soham Town Rangers departure.

Cohen arrived at Julius Martin Lane in the early weeks of last season from Hornchurch and became a fine performer for the Greens in a variety of positions.

He was initially drafted in as a frontman, but ended the campaign operating as an accomplished full-back.

Okay said: “Gary was immense for us. He played up front, out wide and at full-back – and he did a great job in every position.

“He’ll be a big loss, but he has a young family and can’t commit to the travelling involved in playing for us. The door will certainly remain open for him, though.

“He wasn’t at the club for that long, but he made a massive impression and set a great example for the younger lads.

“Myself and Robbie (manager, Mason) have nothing but respect for him. They way he performed and conducted himself was exceptional.”

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Cohen is the only confirmed departure from Rangers following a pleasing Bostik North Division campaign – the first for Mason and Okay at the helm - in which they finished safely in mid-table.

The managerial duo have now spoken with all members of their squad and Okay described the outcome of those chats as ‘very positive’.

“We finished last season very strongly and everyone seems to have taken a lot of confidence from that,” added Okay.

“We’ve spoken to the all the lads, made them aware that we want them to be with us again next season and also told them that we want to make further progress.

“Playing regularly at a good level of football provides fantastic experience for young players and we can offer that.

“Our main priority has been retaining our current players and getting the pre-season schedule sorted.

“We may look to bring players in, but we’re not just going to rush out and do that – it has to be the right people and they have to improve us.”