Hitchin Town manager Brett Donnelly has made his first summer signings following their reprieve from relegation.

The Canaries were set to be playing in the Southern League Division One Central for the 2024-2025 season until Coalville Town's resignation allowed them to keep their Premier Division status.

That necessitated a rethink of transfer policy but some deals were good enough to keep, and all three are people the Hitchin boss knows well.

He has raided old club Stotfold to sign two, the first being full-back Lewis Franklin.

The former Baldock Town and Welwyn Garden City man plays on the right side of the defence and while only 21, he is someone long since tipped to be capable to play higher.

The second signing is another well known to the boss although in different circumstances.

Midfielder Liam Brooks played alongside Donnelly for the Canaries back in the 2016-2017 season, the year they reached the play-off final only to lose 2-1 to Leamington.

He made a total of 67 appearances and spent last year with Biggleswade Town as they won the Division One Central title.

The boss said both were "no brainers".

On Franklin, Donnelly said: "The kid is class and he will only get better as time goes on.

"I just hope he relaxes a bit."

He added: "[Brooks] is a fellow Hitchin lad and wants to have a big impact at the club.

"He's a great signing for us and on a personal note for me, just a great lad to have about the place."

Signing number three, and second to switch from the Eagles, is defender Dan Sears.

The 24-year-old is described as "a dominant, tall and quick centre-half" but his boss has another word to use.

"Class lad, class player, just class," enthused Donnelly.

"I've had to work hard to convince him he’s good enough and believe me, he is.

"He’s one Hitchin fans will warm to as he gives everything every week and rarely lets you down."

Hitchin have also announced another pre-season friendly, playing at their Top Field home against National League Barnet on Tuesday, July 9.

A trip to Histon had already been announced for the following Saturday, July 13.