DAVID Ray has become the ninth player to sign a contract with Basingstoke Town for the 2014-15 season.

The 29-year-old has excelled at centre-back since rejoining the club, forging an excellent partnership with Jay Gasson.

Town manager Jason Bristow said: “David was fantastic all season. He brings a lot to the team and is great to have around the dressing room.”

Bristow has been busy this week, signing four more players.

In addition to Ray, Shaun McAuley and Andrew Jenkinson have put pen to paper on new deals at the Camrose, while left-back Tom Bird is a new addition.

Bird, who grew up in Old Basing, had a brief spell at the Camrose in 2008.

He spent last season with Hayes and Yeading United, but has now signed a one-year deal with his home-town club.

Bristow said: “Tom is a local player who has expressed a real desire to play for his home-town club. He has a great attitude and I’m sure he will do well for us.”

Bird comes in as a replacement for Adam Green, who has returned to Dartford after just one season at the Camrose, while a further seven players have been released.

Midfielder and fans’ favourite McAuley will spend a fourth season at the Camrose, with the 27-year-old turning down interest from other clubs to re-sign for Town.

Bristow said: “There was a lot of interest in him this summer, but he wanted another season with us because he feels that the squad has more to give as a unit.

“He is a fantastic player. He has a lot of energy and when he’s on song, he can really affect games.”

Former Reading youngster Jenkinson impressed in his first season at the club – and Bristow is delighted to have secured the midfielder’s future.

“Last season was Andy’s first in senior football and he adapted very well,” the Town boss said. “Reproducing that form this season will be a real test for him, but he is a fantastic talent and there’s no reason why he shouldn’t achieve that.”

Negotiations remain ongoing with more members of last season’s squad, and Bristow is hoping to tie up deals for some of them in the coming days.

Town have announced that they will travel to Hungerford Town for a pre-season friendly on Saturday, July 19 (kick-off 1pm).