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Leiston will offer Matt Blake new deal if clubs fail to bid for star striker

Matt Blake (right) scored 42 goals for Leiston last season.

Matt Blake (right) scored 42 goals for Leiston last season.

(C)James Bass 2017

Leiston are ready to offer star striker Matt Blake a new two-year contract, should the free-scoring striker not leave Victory Road this summer.

The 28-year-old had a remarkable first season in the Bostik Premier, scoring 42 goals in 54 games for the Blues as Glenn Driver’s side narrowly missed out on the play-offs.

His form in front of goal saw Billericay Town pursue the former Norwich United man, but after Glenn Tamplin’s team met Leiston’s valuation, Blake – who won the Premier Division’s Golden Boot award – chose to remain with the Coastal club until this summer.

That was because of his links with clubs higher up the pyramid, National League side Dagenham & Redbridge having showed interest in the Thetford-based forward at the start of this year.

However, the interest from higher up seems to have cooled a little, only Dagenham’s league rivals, Bromley, making an enquiry this summer, and Driver is keen to reward to striker’s loyalty should he remain with the Blues.

“We have had one or two bits of interest in Matt but no bids on the table,” revealed Driver.

“No-one has come forward and offered a fee and that is a disappointment for our football club and for Matt Blake.

“He scores goals and I think the only thing that is holding him back, in my opinion, is his age

“If he stays with us, if nothing materialises, we want to reward him with a new deal, after what he did last year.”

Meanwhile, Driver revealed that former Heart of Midlothian defender Jake Hutchings has been released from the club, despite being highly-rated by the management at Victory Road.

The defender signed a two-year deal with the club after joining from Grays in November, but his personal circumstances would have made it extremely difficult for him to play for the Blues this season.

“Jake has moved to Stevenage where he has bought a house – the call came totally out of the blue,” added Driver, who has also seen London-based duo Ade Cole and Niko Muir depart to Grays and Hendon respectively.

“He was desperate to stay and we’re gutted to lose him.

“Given the way he conducted his business – he was a pleasure to deal with – we have allowed him to leave for free.”

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