Hadleigh United’s Stuart Crawford believes the signing of goalkeeper Ben Nower will help alleviate the chance of another injury crisis.
The Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division champions decided to add competition to Fred Howe with the experienced Norwich United stopper this week and back-up Darren Moyes’ return date with a long-term shoulder injury remainsunclear.
Crawford, who will still retain Moyes, who may need a further operation, said: “I was trying to give Moyesy as much time as time as I could to get fit and he is making progress, but is still having treatment.
“I did not want to go into the season with just one goalkeeper and get in a pickle.
“Last season we used five or six goalkeepers and that was not ideal.”
And he believes he has made a great addition in signing 33-year-old former AFC Sudbury goakeeper Nower, who will compete for the number one spot.
“Ben is someone I knew since we were teenagers at Lincoln City and he just fancied a crack at a new challenge after five years there,” added Crawford. “As far as goalkeepers go, he was the best we faced last year in the league.”
With last season’s top goalscorer Josh Mayhew having joined new Ryman League Division One North side Brightlingsea Regent and Shane Wardley signed for promoted Ipswich Wanderers, Crawford said a striker and left-back are now his key targets.
Of 25-goal Mayhew’s departure, he said: “Josh is only 23 and wants to play as high a level as possible,” said Crawford. “We wish him luck at Brightlingsea.”
Mark Maher has also left the Millfield to play for Premier Division rivals Stanway Rovers next season.
“The main reason for Mark leaving was travel,” explained the Hadleigh boss. “He lives in Hackney so was having to do long journeys to home and away games so I can see why he took the option of playing closer to home.”
Long Melford boss Jules Mumford believes he can hold on to the squad that finished 11th last term and move more youngsters into his first team.
“We had a good end to the season and nobody has said that they’re leaving yet,” said Mumford. “We’ve got a number of players coming in to the club for pre-season too.
“We want to push for a top-six spot next season.
“We’ve got lots of good youngsters coming in that have just finished playing under-16s and will play for our under-18s next season.
“The under-18s will train with the senior teams next season and I’m hoping they will play a part in my first team.”
n Hadleigh will be hold their AGM at the Millfield on Sunday at 11am.