Slimbridge midfielder Ben Hands has signed for Longlevens on a dual registration as he steps up his return to action following an ACL injury.
Hands, who suffered the knee injury during Slimbridge’s 1-0 defeat at Moneyfields in November 2018, has missed over a year of action and will join up with the Hellenic Premier side as he looks to get back to action.
“It’s very exciting,” Hands told us after the deal was confirmed. “It’s been a long time coming and I’ve worked harder than ever to be where I am now.
I’ve missed playing but have always kept involved with the team at Slimbridge thanks to Drive [Slimbridge manager Lee Driver-Dickerson], Lums [Slimbridge Assistant Manager Alex Lumsden] and everybody there which has helped,” Hands added.
After the injury was confirmed back at the end of 2018, the whole of Gloucestershire football showed their support for Hands on social media and the former Bishops Cleeve man has thanked everyone for their support – in particularly at the beginning of his recovery.
“I felt overwhelmed when I first did my injury. Messages came in from ex-coaches and managers wishing me the best for my recovery and the support from Slimbridge has been unbelievable and I can’t thank the club as a whole enough.
Baz, Colin, Elena were all so helpful I couldn’t have been more grateful and the fact that Drive and Lums have allowed me to be around the squad and the playing side is something that made me push harder in the gym and doing my rehab, as I knew the support of all these people is there.
Obviously my family were amazing throughout and I’m grateful for how motivating and helpful they have been especially when I first did it.
Oh and of course a massive thanks to my surgeon Doctor Peter Kempshall for everything he did with my operation and rehab,” Hands told Severn Sport.
Longlevens manager Craig Martin has praised Hands for his progress and admits that he had tried to get Hands at the club before he joined the Swans at the start of the 2018/19 season.
“Ben’s a player I played with when helping Gala Wilton out about 4/5 years ago and I was very impressed with him. I’ve always kept it touch with Ben and always been keen to see his progression.
I tried a couple of times to convince him to join Longlevens, but rightly so he’s always stepped up a level with Cinderford Town, Bishops Cleeve and now Slimbridge.
We spoke to Ben in pre-season and offered him the chance to train with us but the timing wasn’t right, but now he’s ready to start playing games again and he has come to get some needed minutes to help get him back with Slimbridge when the time is right!
I would like to add my thanks to Drive and Slimbridge for allowing Ben to join us to help his recovery,” Martin added.
Hands lastly thanked Martin for giving him the opportunity to get minutes under his belt and has admitted he is so excited to get back playing that he hasn’t set any targets for the rest of the season.
“I think when you have such a long term injury the steps need to be small, so not setting any targets is a sensible thing to do. It decreases the chances of you pushing yourself too far. But being honest, I’m just excited to finally be able to get back playing,” Hands said.
Severn Sport understands that Hands will be in the Longlevens squad for their trip to Ardley United on Saturday.