THERE have been some nice surprises for Witham Town in this year's pre-season and manager Marc Benterman says adding an experienced former Colchester United striker to his squad is one of the best.

Jamie Guy has joined Witham and Benterman said he had been pleasantly surprised by the positive impact that the 31-year-old had already had.

Guy has struggled for fitness at times in the latter part of his career, but the Town boss said any reservations about that had been quickly dispelled and he had been topping the data charts in running drills against some very fit and much younger team-mates.

Witham are due to head to Sawbridgeworth Town for their latest pre-season outing on Tuesday evening.

It is a second stint at Spa Road for Guy and while the Town boss knows he may have to use the striker intelligently to safeguard him from injuries, he feels his goal-scoring abilities and willingness to pass on his experience to the younger members of his squad can only be beneficial.

Benterman said: "It's calming down a bit now we are into the game playing part of pre-season.

"We're continuing to narrow down the squad as we go through and things are going well.

"The fans are very excited and they have been telling me that they are enjoying what they have been seeing. "There have been some surprises - good surprises.

"We won't have the biggest budget in the league so we have had to be quite clever and some interesting signings have popped up.

"One of those is Jamie Guy.

"He is two or three stone lighter than the last time I had seen him, he is top in all the running data that we're getting from a very fit group and he can't stop scoring since he's come in.

"We've scored six in our last two pre-season games and he's scored three and set up three.

"We were a sceptical with how fit he would be, but he has been top of the running and has lost a lot of weight.

"You can only judge him on the here and now and judging by the data that he is putting out in training and in games and the way he has been scoring goals, having someone of his experience and knowing what we've got him for, is priceless.

"We know we will have to manage him and his involvement as he has had injuries in the past, but he has fitted in so well."

As well as coming through Colchester United's youth system and playing for them in the Championship, Guy has had spells at various clubs including Braintree Town, Grays Athletic, Maldon & Tiptree and Heybridge Swifts.

With the tight budget that he has to work with this year, Benterman knows that his Witham squad is likely to be predominantly filled with younger players and said Guy's experience could be valuable to them in helping to guide the younger members.

"Jamie is helping the youngsters and is a real credit," added the Witham boss.

"You can see that his mind is miles ahead with the way that he reads the game and at the moment, he's been our best player.

"He really has stood out; he has got himself fitter and trimmer and he certainly knows where the back of the net is.

"There is a way to go for him, but he has surprised us a lot and we have agreed terms for him to join us for next year.

"He will add a lot of experience to the group and has impressed with his fitness and work rate.

"The boys are working with him and he is already passing on his experience and that's been so impressive."