A guide to new players

Two St Albans men who played in their derby victory over Boro have switched allegiance. Striker Paul Hakim has agreed to move from Clarence Park for a four-figure transfer fee and he has joined another recruit this week in Damian Batt. The 24-year-old was

Two St Albans men who played in their derby victory over Boro have switched allegiance.

Striker Paul Hakim has agreed to move from Clarence Park for a four-figure transfer fee and he has joined another recruit this week in Damian Batt.

The 24-year-old was previously at Bishop's Stortford, where he formed a strike partnership with current Boro hotshot Steve Morison.

Hakim was at Weymouth in December where they tried to sign him in a contractual dispute but the FA ruled he was a contracted St Albans player.


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Full-back Batt signed on Monday from St Albans as well where he was a non-contract player.

Batt started his career at Norwich before joining Redbridge and then Barnet in September 2004, making his debut in the 3-1 victory over Boro in the LDV Vans Trophy.

Barnet won the Conference that season and returned to the Football League.

Batt was released at the end of last season and signed for the Saints at the end of August.

He rejected approaches from City to put him on contract terms during this campaign.

Saints boss Colin Lippiatt said: "Damian did a great job for me and Stevenage Boro have got an excellent player.

"There is not a lot you can do about it when a player goes full-time over 52 weeks.

"You do work hard to bring players in and get a bit of continuity, the league position starts to improve, the back four is looking good and then you get this."

Lippiatt refuted suggestions that he had not had the best of relationships with Batt that stemmed from a heated discussion at Weymouth.

He said: "I did have a disagreement with Damian at Weymouth, there is no secret about that.

"We both admitted it but I can say I have never had a cross word with him since. I never had a reason to.

"I have as good a relationship with him as any player in that squad.

"He phoned me and said how much he enjoyed playing under me.

"Nobody can force Damian Batt to sign a contract for us.

"We had approached him but I did have doubts and feelings that he would move in January."

Boro also agreed a five-figure fee with Championship side Southend United for 21-year-old Mitchell Cole.

The left-sided midfielder joined on Friday and came on as substitute in Saturday's 1-1 draw at Gravesend and Northfleet.

Cole was signed by Southend in the summer of 2005 after impressive performances at Grays following his move from West Ham.

He was part of the Southend team which won promotion to the Championship in May.

This season, as well as appearing in the Championship, he has been on loan at League One Northampton Town.

Cole will renew his partnership with Stimson who took him to Grays as an 18-year-old.

The winger is one of the fastest players that the Boro manager has ever worked with.

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