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Page last updated at 17:38 GMT, Thursday, 17 June 2010 18:38 UK

Forest Green Rovers sign eight players

Dave Hockaday
Rovers finished 21st in the Blue Square Premier under Hockaday last season

Forest Green manager Dave Hockaday has signed a core group of eight players ahead of next season at the New Lawn.

Defender Craig Armstrong is the new player-coach, ex-captain Lee Fowler returns and midfielder Lee Smith joins from Gloucester City.

The other players include Salisbury goalkeeper James Bittner, Mansfield defender Luke Jones and Northwich midfielder Ian Herring.

Full-back Jared Hodgkiss and youth product Callum Henry have also signed.

Several of the signings will know each other.

Armstrong joined Rovers on a short-term contract in March having been released by Mansfield, where Jones was a team-mate.

And Bittner and Herring played together at Salisbury, where Bittner was first choice last season.

Smith's move comes after over 300 matches for Gloucester City, and Fowler returns to the New Lawn after leaving last summer to sign for Kettering.

Hodgkiss made 35 appearances for Rovers last season.

Manager Dave Hockaday told BBC Gloucestershire: "It's been a lot of hard work. This hasn't just happened overnight.

"There have been a lot of phone calls and trips to different parts of the country but it's worthwhile. We're not going to have masses of quantity but every player will contribute and I believe I've got a better squad than last season."

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