The strengthening of Bishop`s Stortford`s squad has continued with the loan signing of forward Sam Ford from Premier League side West Ham United for the rest of the season.

The new Blue started as a youngster in Ipswich Town’s academy before the Hammers swooped to sign him in March 2016, and the East London club have a one-year option on his contract which is due to expire in June.

He scored his first goal for the Hammers just 12 minutes into his debut against Wolverhampton Wanderers in an under-21 game and followed that goal up with a penalty in his next match against Blackburn Rovers.

He is part of the West Ham development squad which 2016 Premier League Under-21 Cup.

Ford, who will be 19 in June, goes straight into the squad for Saturday’s trip to Bath City.

The Blues have also snapped up highly-promising young defender Alex Stephenson from Ryman League Premier Division side Billericay Town, also until the end of the campaign.

Twenty-year-old Stephenson joined Billericay in the summer of 2015 from Essex Senior League side Southend Manor where he was already club captain.

He came through the ranks at Southend United and was recommended to Billericay by ex-Shrimpers boss Steve Tilson.

He made a big impact in his first season and became a first-team regular, winning the young player of the season award.


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