Barnstaple Town sign Kai Fisher as Richard Pears’ rebuild begins

PUBLISHED: 16:43 29 May 2017 | UPDATED: 16:44 29 May 2017

Kai Fisher (right) will captain Barnstaple Town next season. Picture: Matt Smart

Kai Fisher (right) will captain Barnstaple Town next season. Picture: Matt Smart

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Fisher is Pears’ first signing, but the manager concedes he is ‘playing catch-up’ after losing some key players.

Kai Fisher scores for Bideford in a 3-1 win over Torquay United. Picture: Matt Smart Kai Fisher scores for Bideford in a 3-1 win over Torquay United. Picture: Matt Smart

Barnstaple Town manager Richard Pears said he isn’t fazed at the prospect of rebuilding the club’s squad

Barum’s new manager secured the services of Kai Fisher from Bideford for his first summer signing.

The centre-back will also captain the side for the upcoming Southern League Division One South and West campaign, replacing outgoing Aaron Harper-Penman.

Fisher is no stranger to Pears or Barnstaple. He played for Pears at Exmouth Town before joining Willand Rovers.

Kai Fisher in action against Mangotsfield. Picture: Matt Smart Kai Fisher in action against Mangotsfield. Picture: Matt Smart

He also ensured Bideford did a league double over Barum on Boxing Day last year, scoring the only goal in The Robins’ 1-0 win.

“I had Kai with me for four or five years ago playing at Exmouth and he was part of a team that finished second in the league,” said Pears.

“He’s a lad I have thought highly of and he’s a big centre-half who’s quick and strong.

“He’s got a great personality and will bring lads together. I know him and can trust him and he will follow the ethic I’m trying to instil in this new team. I’m delighted to have him on board.”

Exmouth Town manager Richard Pears at the home match against Corinthians in the F.A Vase. Ref exsp 02-17TI 5202. Picture: Terry Ife Exmouth Town manager Richard Pears at the home match against Corinthians in the F.A Vase. Ref exsp 02-17TI 5202. Picture: Terry Ife

Since taking over on May 8, the new manager has seen five of the squad he inherited leave.

Liam Gregory moves up to the Southern League Premier with Tiverton Town, while Craig Allan, James Mayne, Steve Oliver and Ryan Turner have gone down the A39 to Bideford.

Pears admitted he was having to play catch-up, but is happy to retain the team’s midfield, with Jack Jenkins, Niall Heeney, Lee Francis, Jed Harper-Penman and Shaun Copp all committing to the club.

“There are a few players who have gone to Bideford and I think that’s down to the transition time from the previous manager and me taking over. I have had to play catch-up really,” he said.

Niall Heeney is among those staying at Barnstaple next season. Picture: Matt Smart Niall Heeney is among those staying at Barnstaple next season. Picture: Matt Smart

“They’ve got a bigger budget and for those players who want to move, it’s not personal. I’ve not fallen out with anyone and door is always open.

“It gives an opportunity for other lads to come in and play in the Southern League, which is the highest standard of football in the area.

“I’m speaking to lots of players and talks are going well.

“It’s about building a squad for pre-season and shaping the team throughout that period.

“I’ve done it before and it doesn’t faze me.”

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