NICKY Smith has netted his first two captures of the summer as AFC Sudbury gear up for a promotion push – and they come with plenty of pace and goals in their boots.
Both Richard Howell and Chris Sullivan’s moves to King’s Marsh have been described as ‘massive’ additions by manager Smith, with the pair ticking the required box of higher-level experience.
The new signings, both attacking players, were able to join up with their new team-mates for the start of pre-season training on Tuesday, after pen was put to paper on contracts this week.
Attacking winger Howell, 28, who can play down either flank, was part of Hitchin Town’s Southern League Division One Central promotion-winning side who hit double figures last season in front of goal.
The Crystal Palace trainnee, who has seen his career suffer with two broken legs, has also played for Stevenage Borough and Bishop’s Stortford before moving to Hitchin last season.
The switch to AFC comes after a loan period at Sudbury from Blue Square Bet North side Stortford in 2008/09 where he scored six goals in 21 appearances.
And in Sullivan, Smith believes he has finally found the perfect foil for leading scorer James Baker, probably in a 4-3-3 formation alongside Dan Emmannuel.
East-London-based Sullivan, 23, was an Essex schoolboys 100m sprinter, and came through the youth set-up at Stevenage Borough before moving to Braintree Town where he played with Baker and Michael Shinn in the Blue Square Bet South, before heading to AFC Wimbledon. Last season he featured for a number of clubs, including a return to Braintree as well as appearing for Aveley.
Smith told the Suffolk Free Press he was delighted with his transfer business so far and hopes there will be one or two more pieces to finish the jigsaw in his pursuit of promotion.
“Whereas last year we had to bring in eight or nine players, this year we are going for three or four with real quality,” he said.
The yellows’ chief describes Howell, who he snapped up once he heard he was moving house to Dunmow, as “very mobile, good with both feet and scores goals”.
Of Sullivan he said: “He is very quick, equally comfortable up front or out wide, predominantly left-footed.”
Smith had to apparently act quick and use The MEL Group Stadium’s stunning facilities to snap up both players ahead of a queue of other clubs.
But Needham Market’s wideman Danny Thrower is one who has got away after the Marketmen have demanded a fee for the want-away winger, ending AFC’s interest.
Meanwhile, defender Jack Wignall, who runs his own personal training business, has been handed a player/coach role for the new campaign, announced to the players at Friars Meadow on Tuesday after his involvement next season had appeared uncertain.