Falmouth Town have signed highly-rated defender Hugh Howlett from Helston Athletic.

The influential centre half was an integral part of Helston’s side last season, helping the Blues to the final of the Cornwall Senior Cup, and runners-up spot in division one west.

Falmouth manager John Dent said: “Hugh being here strengthens us all round. He can play as a holding midfielder screening the back four as well as a defender.

“He’s a good player to have around off the pitch too. Hugh’s a big character, which I think will help.”

Howlett is likely to play some part in Falmouth’s crunch match against fellow strugglers Cullompton Rangers at Bickland Park on Saturday - seen as a must-win if Town are to relieve some of the pressure on them at the bottom of the SWPL premier division.

Dent said he felt his side were in good shape going into the game.

“I feel like I’ve got a squad of 15 or 16 players now who are all capable of starting. We’re slowly getting stronger and stronger,” he said.

Blues boss Sid Taylor said he was disappointed to see Howlett leave.

“Hugh’s a friend off the pitch as well, so I’m obviously sad to see him leave, but he’s going up a standard, I suppose.

“He’s been offered good money to go there, and when you’ve got no budget like we have at Helston it’s difficult to keep your players - as I’m finding out this season.”

Taylor added: “To be honest I’m surprised he’s not gone sooner. In my opinion he’s probably one of the best defenders in the county. I wish him well and hope he can help them stay up.”

Taylor also spoke of his surprise that the defender would choose a relegation battle in the premier division over a promotion hunt in division one west, but Dent said his recent signings were under no illusions about the situation at Bickland Park.

“You look at the players who are coming in, and none of them have come in with rose coloured glasses on. They know it’s going to be a battle, but now we’re playing teams around us it’s a chance to pick up some points.”

Falmouth Packet:

Howlett’s loss comes as a further blow to Helston after news this week that top-scorer Mark Goldsworthy is poised for a move to St Austell - despite turning down an approach from the club earlier in the season.

Taylor said he first heard of the news from Lilywhites boss Phil Lafferty, but added that he’d since been told that St Austell players had been speaking to Goldsworthy about a potential move on social networking sites.

“It’s a strange one this,” said Taylor, “because other than one phone message from Phil Lafferty I’ve heard nothing about it.

“He said that his players had been in contact with Goldie on Facebook and were trying to tap him up, and that it was nothing to do with him.

“But they’ve already put seven days in for him back in December and he turned them down, so as far as I know they can’t come back in for him.

“Then I hear that he’s training with them this week and playing for them on Saturday. I’m gobsmacked really because he’s a Helston player and he hasn’t had permission to leave.

“I got him back from Truro and thought that would be the end of it, with the way we’ve looked after him, but apparently not.

Taylor added: “I’ve fought tooth and nail to keep him at the club but instead, just when we thought we’d got over injuries and losing a couple of players,  this happens. I think the Cornwall FA need to do something about it, perhaps introduce a transfer window, because it’s just ridiculous.”

If Goldsworthy does move he will be ineligible to play in either the Throgmorton or Senior Cups, having appeared in both competitions for Helston.

Meanwhile Falmouth manager John Dent has revealed that striker Kayne Trevaskis has left the club and rejoined Perranporth.

Trevaskis signed for Falmouth from Penryn in December, but made the decision to quit Bickland Park after just three games.

Dent explained: “Kayne wanted a guaranteed starting spot every week and I just couldn’t do it.

“He didn’t want to stay and fight for a place, which I understand. I’d have liked to see him stay and fight for his place, but we parted on good terms.

Town boss Dent 'disappointed' by Taylor claims over Howlett move