AFC boost squad to hit ground running

SIGNING FRENZY: Paul Walker (pictured), Alfie Carroll, Dave Cowley and Rhys Henry all agree deals to join AFC Sudbury for the 2017/18 season
SIGNING FRENZY: Paul Walker (pictured), Alfie Carroll, Dave Cowley and Rhys Henry all agree deals to join AFC Sudbury for the 2017/18 season

Last season may have ended with demotion disappointment, but AFC Sudbury are bouncing right back.

And they are starting with an overhaul of the squad, as many of last season’s players chose to move to other clubs to continue playing at the same level.

But as some players left, others are now being welcomed to the Wardale Williams Stadium, with AFC Sudbury announcing four new signings just this week.

The club has also promoted some of their academy graduates as they look to be immediately competitive in the Isthmian Division One league.

Dave Cowley, 29, and Rhys Henry, 27, have both agreed to bolster the club’s attacking line with one-year contracts, while keeper Paul Walker, 25, has also agreed to join.

And Alfie Carroll, one of last season’s young players who graduated via the club’s academy and made nine appearances for the club last term, has signed a two-year contract with AFC.

Assistant manager Andy Reynolds has said the new players can boost the squad, as the team target the Premier Division once more.

“We’re trying to strengthen the entire squad,” he said. “These are important signings for us and will add experience, energy and ability, too.

“They are our first signings but they will by no means be the last.

“We are still discussing things with a number of other players and have even more targets, but these signings have made real inroads for the squad.”

He said that Cowley, Henry and Walker bring a wealth of experience and practice of a promotion battle, which will stand them in good stead for a fight to return to the top flight.

“The players we’ve signed so far are a good mix of young and experienced.

“Dave and Rhys know what they’re doing in this league.

“Walker is a great addition too. Although Marcus [Garnham] decided to leave, it’s great to be able to bring in another keeper of the experience and pedigree of Paul.

“I’m very happy to welcome all these players to the club.”

Attacking midfielder Cowley is returning to Sudbury for the third time, coming from Thurrock most recently.

Henry, meanwhile, joins from Maldon and Tiptree as a forward, while Paul Walker has transferred from Haverhill Borough.

Cowley said: “I know Andy is keen to play better football and push for promotion straight away.

“I’m excited by that as well as the chance to do some teaching, to help the younger lads coming through into the first team.

“I look forward to helping in whatever way I can.”