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Matt Johnson returns to Bishop's Stortford from Braintree Town while Ben Marlow faces spell on sidelines with knee problem

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Matt Johnson has returned to help Bishop's Stortford's 2022-23 promotion push.

The experienced midfielder, 32, is back at the R&D Advisors UK Stadium having most recently been captain at Vanarama National League South side Braintree Town.

Johnson made 141 appearances during his previous stint with the Blues between 2012 and 2016, including their televised 2-1 defeat to Northampton Town in the first round of the FA Cup in November 2013.

Matt Johnson is back with the Blues. Picture: @BSFCTheBlues on Twitter (56896869)
Matt Johnson is back with the Blues. Picture: @BSFCTheBlues on Twitter (56896869)

But Ben Marlow looks set to face a lengthy spell on the sidelines due to a knee problem. The midfielder missed the start of the 2021-22 season following an operation on a torn meniscus and manager Steve Smith said some complications have surfaced.

"Ben will need to see a specialist for a review. He'll likely be out of action for some time," said Smith. "Ben and the club are still fully committed to one another and hopefully we will see him back on the pitch very soon."

Marlow, whose long-range injury-time winner at Lewes in March earned him the club's Goal of the Season award, as voted for by the fans, said: "I'll get myself sorted and be back better than ever. "In the meantime I am looking forward to watching the team push for promotion and will hopefully be back in time for the run in next year. Allez les Bleus!"

Boss Smith has also been busy retaining the services of another nine members of his current squad after they lost in the Pitching In Isthmian League, Premier Division play-off semi-finals.

Captain Ryan Henshaw has committed to another campaign with the Blues, as have fellow defenders Mark Haines, Sam Robbins and Archie Edwards, their 2021-22 top scorer Frankie Merrifield and midfielders Anthony Church, Jack Thomas, Jonny Giles and Darren Foxley.

Henshaw, who has made 116 appearances for the Blues, was named Players' Player of the Season at the club's recent end-of-season awards.

Haines has featured 83 times for Smith's men, Robbins has enjoyed 136 outings for the club and Edwards racked up 24 games in his first season.

Forward Merrifield hit 21 goals in 2021-22, including two hat-tricks, to top the side's scoring charts.

Church, who picked up the Manager's Player of the Season gong, has scored 22 goals in 159 appearances while Thomas will be looking to add to his 161 games having come through the academy.

Giles netted 12 goals in 2021-22 on his way to being named Supporters' Player of the Season and Foxley has 28 goals under his belt from 95 Stortford appearances across different spells having made his debut in 2017.

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