Crawford looks to address a striker shortage at Hadleigh

MOVING ON:  James Blades is the latest striker to leave Hadleigh United, having agreed a deal to sign for Leiston this week after they made an approach
MOVING ON: James Blades is the latest striker to leave Hadleigh United, having agreed a deal to sign for Leiston this week after they made an approach

After losing James Blades to Leiston, Hadleigh United boss Stuart Crawford is in a frantic search for strikers ahead of the start of the season.

Blades returned from a long injury lay-off to score 10 times for the Thurlow Nunn League champions last season, but now joins 23-goal Josh Mayhew and 14-goal Ollie Canfer in leaving the club.

The midfield has been bolstered this week though with much-travelled 33-year-old Kevin Inglis, who spent a year as a professional without a senior appearance at Ipswich Town, and Liam Scopes — from Woodbridge Town — having signed.

With the Thurlow Nunn League season kicking off on August 9, Crawford is set to see if there is a possibility of getting anyone in on loan with only Tesfaye Bramble and youngster Sam Sharp as recognised forwards, while Duane Wright can also play up front.

“Without doubt we will be looking for a striker as we have really lost all the strikers we had at the club last year,” he said. “Tesfaye’s fitness is not good, so we cannot rely on him either.

“We do desperately need to strengthen our strikeforce.

“There are not a lot of players around our area though and we might have to work with what we have got.

“I am also looking for loan possibilities as well and will be putting in calls to the local Ryman League clubs.”

Of Inglis, who is about to turn 34, Crawford said: “Kevin is a very good player and one we tried to ask to come over 
for two or three years now, but he stayed loyal to Whitton.

“This year I don’t think he was required and he asked to come over and he has looked very good.

“He adds something different to our squad. He is creative and has a good delivery.”

Scopes is the son of former Woodbridge manager Mark Scopes.

“He is very good on the ball and is a bit similar to Liam Jennings,” Crawford said of the predominantly central midfielder.

The Brettsiders’ boss said he was sorry to see Blades leave, but said with him based in Aldeburgh and with friends at Leiston, it was always going to be hard to prevent it once they came in.

Inglis was on the scoresheet twice as a trialist as Hadleigh gained their first pre-season win with a 7-0 success at Grundisburgh on Saturday.

Scott Chaplin also got a brace, while Kris Rose, Ashley Sloots and Blades were also on target.

Crawford is expecting a tougher test when Leyton Orient bring a side to the Millfield on Saturday (1pm).

Hadleigh Reserves won 4-0 at home to Melton St Audrys with Kyle Cassell and Sharp on target.