WITH pre-season action about to get under way, Hadleigh United have strengthened their forward line with the signing of Walsham’s Alan Ross and added defender Jon Ince.
The 27-year-old striker and 23-year-old left-back become Stuart Crawford’s third and fourth summer signings, following hot on the heals of Michael Steward, formely of Bury Town and Needham Market, and fellow ex- Marketman and left back Ben Wake.
And the Brettsiders manager, who begins preparations for the Ridgeons League opening day on August 13 with a behind-closed-doors friendly to feature eight trialists on Saturday, says he is not done yet.
“There will be some more to follow,” he said. “I have eight trialists training with us but we will have to see. Some players come from the Ryman League and some have played in the Premier Division (Ridgeons) and a couple have played at a lower level.”
But Crawford is delighted with the signing of Walsham-le-Willows frontman Ross, who only managed 14 games in a frustrating last campaign at Summer Road, scoring four goals.
He said: “We have played together at Walsham and I know him well.
“He is a good player and he will do very well for us. He is not a kid, he is 27 so brings a good level of experience and he will be a big player for us.”
Ince signed on Tuesday night from Wickham Market and was part of Debenham LC’s side who won promotion to the Premier Division in 2008/09.
Long Melford are in discussions with four players to bolster their squad next season, including a Braintree Town reserve player who is wanted by a number of clubs.
But key players from last campaign have re-singinged, with ex-Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Paul Wood, defender Ashley Skeggs and Dan Cann, who scored 12 goals in 12 starts at the end of last season, all agreeing to a further year at Stoneylands.
“They are massive signings for us,” said Maher.
The Villagers return to action at Stoneylands on Tuesday (7,45pm) against Ryman League outfit AFC Subdury, with manager Jason Maher saying both himself and his counterpart Nicky Smith have agreed to field full-strength sides.
Halstead Town have been back working hard in pre-season after going through three different managers last campaign, with Jimmy Holder now stabilising the club after stepping into the dugout from his position as chairman.
But not many new faces are expected at Rosemary Lane for the forthcoming season, with Holder very much looking to continue with his youngsters who stepped up from the club’s fledgling academy setup.
Cornard United will begin their preparations for the new campaign testing themselves against the likes of Ridgeons League Premier Division outfit Hadleigh United.
l THE First Division Knockout Cup draw sees Cornard United at home to Brightlingsea Regent in the preliminary round on September 3, with the winners paired at home to Whitton United in the first round on November 5. Also on that day, Debenham LC will host Halstead Town and Long Melford will play Bury Town at Stoneylands.