ROYAL Wootton Bassett manager Sam Collier expressed his delight at former Swindon Town scholar and cancer survivor Declan Lehmann joining the club on a season-long loan.

Lehmann, who had been diagnosed with cancer in 2015 before receiving the all clear in April 2016, was with his hometown club from the age of seven before moving on to become Forest Green Rovers’ first ever scholar in July 2017.

The goalkeeper was a member of Rovers' academy for two years before his release earlier this summer.

Now at Chippenham Town – where he will continue to train throughout his loan deal with Bassett – the 19-year-old has received a scholarship to play football in America in July next year.

Although his final destination is not yet clear, whichever club Lehmann opts to play for, they will want him to have been playing regular first-team football before he joins.

Therefore, the young stopper has opted to join Collier’s Hellenic League side as they search for promotion to the Southern League to fulfil that requirement.

Revealing Lehmann turned down an offer to join a football league club prior to signing, Bassett boss Collier said: “He had a couple of offers from professional clubs to go and be third-choice ‘keeper, but he turned that down and we feel lucky enough for him to have chosen us.

“He’s played two games for us and he’s been different class.

“He had an offer from a League Two club this season, but because he’s got plans at the end of the year, and the fact that he’s just come out from a professional club where he wasn’t getting game time, he wants to just get games and play competitive football.

“He was one of the biggest targets we had this summer because we went through nine goalkeepers last year, and it was a huge issue for us.

“Matt Bullman was instrumental in bringing Dec here and we’re really pleased that we’ve got him onboard.”

Bassett have played four pre-season friendlies so far this season – all away from home – and finally get a chance to run out on home turf as they host Sam’s father Mark’s Chippenham Town on Tuesday night (7:45pm kick-off).

Collier junior is excited for his players to face off against higher opposition and says he will not resort to mind-games with his dad is a bid to claim bragging rights.

The Bassett boss said: “It will be good for the club to get a few through the gate and it will be a good test for us to come up against a National League Side.

“I’ll certainly be keeping things professional, although I might ask for a lift home at the end! But that’s about it.”