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Ambitious AFC Portchester have beaten a host of other clubs to sign Trinidad & Tobago international Jake Thomson.

Thomson, who goes straight into the Royals squad for their Wessex premier match against Sholing tonight, joins the Wicor Rec side from Skrill Premier outfit Salisbury City, following spells at Southampton, Exeter, Torquay, Cheltenham, Newport County and AFC Bournemouth.

The 24-year-old will be reunited with Louis Bell at the club.

Bell was the coach of the Portsmouth Schools side – which included Thomson – who lifted the English Schools’ Trophy 10 years ago.

He’s confident the winger will quickly find his feet at Wessex League level and create the type of chances that strikers Jamie Musselwhite and Nathan Lynch thrive on.

‘It’s up to Jake to show he still has what it takes to make football a career,’ said Bell.

‘I always thought he would go on to play professional football after playing for Portsmouth Schools.

‘He did just that, although only briefly for several clubs up to now. He comes to us from Salisbury with everything to prove.

‘I know first hand what he is capable of and that’s what we want from him. He knows we won’t settle for anything less.

‘And if he turns it on, I honestly don’t think he will be here too long. The word will go out around the non-league circle and more senior clubs than us will be in to take him away.

‘If that happens, so be it, we’ll wish him well and not stand in his way.’

Manager Graham Rix added ‘Jake comes in with a decent enough pedigree and has set his own high standards that we will expect him to better once he settles in here.’

Meanwhile, the Royals are battling the weather to stage their mouthwatering encounter with league leaders Sholing tonight.

‘We are doing everything we can to get this game on but the rain isn’t helping,’ said director of football Mick Jenkins.