TAUNTON Town have announced two new signings today, with striker Craig Veal returning to the Viridor Stadium from Bideford and defender Toby Down joining from Exeter City.

This is Veal's third term with the Peacocks, having played for them in 2011-12 and 2015-17, scoring 33 goals in the latter spell before departing in June.

Returning to Bideford (where he had played in 2014-15), the 27-year-old striker only made 12 appearances and scored one goal, before going out on loan to Willand Rovers in the Toolstation Western League.

As for Down, who turns 20 today, he is a product of the Exeter Academy, but did not make a first-team appearance for the Grecians, having spent much of the last two seasons on loan at Dorchester Town and Weymouth.

With today's scheduled match against Bideford being postponed, their first outings could well be this coming Saturday, away to AFC Totton.

The signings come at a good time for Taunton, with striker Omar Simpson having departed, wing-back/winger Ross Staley leaving for Australia this month, and defenders Ben Adelsbury and Shane White to serve bans after both were sent off against Cirencester before Christmas.

In addition, veteran centre-back Matt Villis has retired from the game.

Manager Leigh Robinson told the Gazette: "Omar [Simpson] just wanted to play more games, so it was an amicable agreement [for him to leave for Paulton Rovers].

"He understood that Matt Wright and Dan Sullivan have been playing well up front for us.

"We wish him all the best; he did a good job for us, especially when he first joined and we were struggling a little bit.

"The crucial thing that Craig [Veal] has is pace, and he scores goals.

"He knows everyone and we know what he can do; it's perfect timing for us, freshening things up at the New Year."

On Down, Robinson added: "He's just come off a two-year professional contract so he's had a good upbringing at Exeter, and six months at Weymouth where he's done well.

"We're delighted with the signing, as he's hungry to get back into the professional game, so is desperate to prove himself.

"He can cover a few positions - centre-back, wing-back and centre midfield - and gives us youth and legs at the back."