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The New Saints sign former Wrexham youngster Leo Smith from Caernarfon Town

By Lewis Cox | The New Saints | Published:

The New Saints have swooped to make midfielder Leo Smith their second new signing of the summer – as boss Scott Ruscoe hopes to complete transfer business this week.

TNS boss Scott Ruscoe has made Leo Smith his second new signing of the summer

Central midfielder Smith, 22, joins from Cymru Premier Division rivals Caernarfon Town, where he enjoyed a highly impressive season in helping Town finish fifth in the top flight, chipping in with four goals from 20 starts.

He joins fellow exciting prospect, 23-year-old Louis Robles, who joined from Bala at the beginning of June, as the new faces through the door at Park Hall.

Former Wrexham youngster Smith was a graduate of the youth team ranks at The Racecourse, where he went on to make more than 30 senior appearance after his debut in the 2016/17 season before loans at Llandudno and Caernarfon, the latter of which he made a permanent move last summer.

The former Wales youth international is described as a creative, technically-gifted midfielder with an eye for joining attacks from midfield and an impressive passing range.

Ruscoe has been keen to refresh his squad with young talent during the close season, after the early conclusion of the Welsh top flight saw TNS pipped to the title by Connah's Quay, as a run of eight league wins came to an end.

But the Saints chief has refused to make wholesale changes and instead intends to complete his transfer business by the end of this week by completing a third and final signing before his side meet up to begin pre-season training next week.

"Leo is a young boy from Caernarfon, he's played games already for Wrexham at National League level," said Ruscoe, whose side face Europa League qualifying action on August 27.

"He plays centrally and can play a couple of positions if needed. He's got age on his side and will freshen it up a little bit.

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"He's played for two teams in the Welsh Premier, Caernarfon and Llandudno and has National League experience with Wrexham as a 17 or 18-year-old.

"We tried to get him in at Christmas but couldn't get it through and have revisited and now is the right time to sign him.

"We're also looking at one more, hopefully before the end of the week.

"My main aim was to get three in and fingers crossed we get the three to add to our already-competitive squad at the moment. I'll be more than happy if we sign these two.

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"He has a drive about him and has had an excellent season at Caernarfon.”

Smith said: “I am delighted to sign for TNS! I feel it is the right place for me to be, to develop further as a player. It’s great to be back full-time again.

“It’s very clear how strong, consistent and dominant the club has been for many years. I feel the style of play that TNS is known for, will suit me perfectly, and hopefully I can contribute towards what the club is looking to achieve again.”

New signings Smith and Robles will join the backbone of a familiar Saints squad, as Ruscoe was able to to tie down the futures of eight out-of-contract first-team squad members.

Attacking stalwart Aeron Edwards, who left to join champions Connah's Quay, is the only departure from the Oswestry-based club that Ruscoe made an offer to keep on board, an exit that the boss admitted was a blow.

Ruscoe has also offered first professional deals to a handful of youngsters who have impressed through the club's burgeoning academy ranks.

Joining Edwards, 32, out the exit door are defenders Kane Lewis and Joash Nembhard, midfielder Josh Hmami and striker Kurtis Byrne.

Ruscoe added: "We've got a very experienced squad of 28, 29 and 30-year-olds that are in their peak, so it's about having a few coming up.

"I've got big hopes for Ben Clark this season, he's 19 and come through our academy. We've got a good variety and mixture, the dynamic's good and there's a good core within the dressing room.

"The squad was probably too big last season, with boys going out on loan. We'll have a first-team squad of 21 or 22 which is more than enough."

Lewis Cox

By Lewis Cox
Multi-Media Sports Journalist - @lewiscox_star

Sports reporter with the Express & Star and Shropshire Star. Covering Shrewsbury Town and with a keen eye for non-league and grassroots.

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