Paul Tisdale secures first two signings of the summerEXETER CITY has completed its first pair of acquisitions of the summer window as both Lloyd James and Robbie Simpson arrive at the club on free transfers.
Former Wales Under-21 international James spent four years with Leyton Orient after being brought to Brisbane Road by Russell Slade in 2012, and left the club on the expiry of his contract earlier this month.
The 28-year-old spent the first ten years of his career with Southampton, turning professional with them in 2005. He scored his first professional goal against the Grecians at St. Mary’s on Boxing Day 2009, and later moved to Colchester United, where he would make over fifty appearances. A short loan at Crawley Town followed, before the Bristol-born defensive midfielder joined Orient after a successful trial.
He said: “I’m delighted to get it over the line, and I’m really looking forward to getting started. The manager phoned my agent, and it was something that really interested me. The style of football is a big plus, and after a discussion with the manager, everything just felt right. The club came close to going up last year; hopefully we can go one step further this year.”
Highly-rated 31-year-old striker Simpson departed fellow League 2 side Cambridge United this summer. The former Norwich City youngster played for both Cambridge City and Cambridge United early in his career, managing over fifty goals in just over a hundred combined appearances for both clubs. A move to Coventry City followed, and sixty-one games later he made the move to Huddersfield Town.
He would twice leave the John Smith’s Stadium on loan, first to Brentford and then Oldham Athletic, before moving permanently to the Latics in 2012. He spent most of the 2013-14 season at Leyton Orient, where he would play alongside Lloyd James, before returning to Cambridge United on their promotion to the Football League that summer.
He said: “I’ve got a previous relationship with the manager – he was my manager when I played for England at university level. We’ve kept in contact ever since, and I felt the time was right to come here. As soon as I met him about a week ago, the deal was done really quickly; I really wanted to come. I’ll bring workrate and give it my all, and hopefully some goals and assists, but more importantly adding value to the team.”
City boss Paul Tisdale said: “It’s very pleasing to get both players signed this early in the summer. Both players come here with pedigree; they’ve both played at a higher level, and they are players that, for a while, we’ve always been keen on. They represent a major part of our recruitment this summer.
“Robbie is a forward who can offer a lot to our attack, and Lloyd is a midfielder who, having been at Leyton Orient for a few years, was virtually ever-present in their run to the League One Play-Off Final a couple of years ago. I’ve described to them where we’re looking to go - how we’re looking to build on last year, and how we’re going to be progressing the team. They’ll be a big part of it.”
Head to Grecian PlayerHD for interviews with both of the new arrivals, while you can listen to their thoughts on our Audioboom feed.
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