PORTLAND United have announced the signings of five players for the 2021/22 season.

Ryan McKechnie and Ben Morris stay on, along with defender Harry Hutchinson, striker Lewis Clarke and midfielder Oli Lowes.

McKechnie will take the skipper’s armband, while Morris will become vice-captain at the Blues.

Manager Franklyn Clarke and assistant Sam Poole have developed an ethos on blooding young players.

The experienced McKechnie is seen as a leader in the changing room and Morris already has several years of senior football under his belt despite being in his early 20s.

Speaking to Portland’s media team, Clarke said of McKechnie: “I’m delighted to sign Macca for the 21/22 season.

“With the new direction the club is going in – bringing young lads through – he is the type of experienced player you want around for the young lads to learn from.

“He is at every training session, he trains like he plays, he encourages those around him, he’s a leader. Ryan is everything you want in a captain.”

READ MORE: New under-18 team 'integral' to Portland

Morris, who also represents Dorchester Town Under-23s, has “plenty more to come” in his career, according to Clarke.

He said: “Ben is a fantastic attacking player who can do a little bit of everything. You always know you are going to receive everything from Ben that he can possibly give.

“He’s a good, honest lad and I think there’s plenty more to come from Ben.”

Commenting on Hutchinson, the Portland boss said: "Harry is a great lad who enjoys his football; he’s one who is always wanting to progress and work hard.

“Harry is another young lad we have who has a lot of potential.

“He’s left-footed, a good size, moves well and also, importantly, technically good.

“Harry just needs games and someone to believe in him – which I do and he knows that.

“Harry’s looked very sharp and trained really well over the past month or so and I can really see him  kicking on this season.

“He’s been at the club for a couple of seasons now and I think the Portland fans will see the best of him this coming season.”

On Lewis Clarke, his namesake added: “Lewis came in last season and has been great with the young lads.

“It’s important that the experienced players in the group set good examples for the younger ones and he has certainly done that.

“Lewis returned to training and he looked like a new player, he’s clearly worked hard during the time we had off. I think we will now get to see the best of him.

“Lewis has a lot to offer, he’s a real handful, no defender will have an easy time of it and he also knows where the back of the net is too.

“I’m hoping he hits the ground running once the games come around and scores lots of goals for Portland this season.”

Finally, manager Clarke said of Lowes: “I’m really happy Oli has re-signed, his commitment is brilliant and he sets a real example.

“He is a big part of how we’re going to play next season and I feel he has much to offer.

“Oli has a lot of potential and the more games he plays for us the better he gets. Oli is versatile, which I like in a player.

“He’s outstanding technically and has been working hard away from the club on areas he wants to make better, too.

“Oli is a good character in the group and I believe he’s got a really good season ahead of him.”

Meanwhile, Garry Rowe and Andy Mallet have been announced at the management team for the Blues’ new Under-18 team.