HADLEIGH United manager Stuart Crawford believes signing Leiston defender Mark Goldfinch on a permanent basis is a massive signal of intent of the club’s ambitions.
The 30-year-old defender earned rave reviews for his performances at the Millfield at the back end of last season on a loan deal from Leiston.
Crawford’s top transfer target has made his switch down the leagues, following Lesiton’s promotion to the Ryman Premier, permanent after opting to turn down AFC Sudbruy.
“I am chuffed to bits as in our catchment area there is not really a large selection of defenders at his level,” said a delighted Crawford, who knows Goldfinch from his playing days at Ipswich Wanderers. “In fact, if you want experienced defenders who have been there and done it, you only really have David Head and Goldy around here.
“To be able to get Goldy is massive for us, especially in the area we are in, competing with the likes of Brantham.
“We have struggled to defend properly in the past two years, so he helps us in that area.”
He added: “To have him full time is fantastic.”
Crawford, whose side finished 11th in what will be known as the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division next season after a new three-year sponsor was announced to replace Ridgeons, now has six defenders — the others from last season — tied up for four places.
“They are all good, capable players and include players who can cover at full back,” he said. “With my defenders I have now got what I need.”
Crawford is now concentrating on boosting his attacking options with last season’s top scorer Ben Deacon (23 goals from 38 league games) set to miss the first month of the season due to his summer travelling.
New signing Neil Calver, also from Leiston, will be used up front by Crawford, a position he played in when previously at Hadleigh, but the Brettsiders’ boss is still looking to fill another space.
“We are short up top as Luke Wade has a knee injury and we are very light up front,” he said, saying he also needs a wide player.
“We are speaking with some players but it has been quite a drawn out process — we have been speaking to some for three or four weeks.”
The Hadleigh Charity Cup this year, in aid of Help for Heroes, will see Crawford’s side welcome Russell Slade’s League One outfit Leyton Orient in what is a great coup for the club on Saturday, July 21 (3pm). Entry for adults is £4, seniors/juniors £3, family (2+2) £5.
“It is good for the club,” said the Hadleigh boss. “But what sort of side they will send I have no idea.”
Hadleigh are also set to warm-up with friendlies against: Ipswich Wanderers (a) (July 7, 2.30pm); Leiston (h) (July 24, 7.45pm) and Maldon & Tiptree (h) (July 31, 7.45pm).