Humbugs bring in six new players to strengthen promotion hopes

SUMMER SIGNING: Josh Capocci, pictured playing for Stowmarket Town, is one of six players to have joined

SUMMER SIGNING: Josh Capocci, pictured playing for Stowmarket Town, is one of six players to have joined

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Mark Benterman is pleased with how his Halstead Town squad is looking after signing six new players so far this summer.

The Humbugs boss has been busy building his squad for the upcoming 2015-16 season, where they will hope to be among those challenging for promotion into the Thurlow Nunn League’s top flight.

Richie Abbott and Jourdan Kiwomya have joined from AFC Sudbury Reserves, with Josh Capocci leaving First Division rivals Stowmarket Town to sign for Benterman’s side.

FC Clacton’s Tom Holdstock is among the new signings at Rosemary Lane, while Tom Barry (Cornard United) and Luke Banner (Braintree Town Reserves) have both returned to the club.

“I’m pleased with the signings we’ve made,” the Halstead manager said. “We’re looking very strong and there’s a good buzz about the place.

“We’ve got two more players on trial with us who have been coming to pre-season training. One of them was in a side that reached the quarter-finals of the FA Vase.

“Last year we had a bit of bad luck with injuries so we’ve looked to improve over the summer. We’ve been recruiting a bit more and are hoping to improve all over the pitch next season.”

Departing the club is Ryan Swallow, who Haverhill Borough confirmed has not joined them, while Jonah Gosling is currently on trial at National League South side Chelmsford City.

Along with the manager, the Humbugs committee have also been busy this summer, with ‘major development’ being done to their Rosemary Lane home.

“The pitch has had lots of work done to it and it’s the best it’s looked in years,” Benterman said. “There’s been major redevelopment with a new dance floor in the club house, new toilets fitted and work done on the changing rooms.

“It’s fantastic to see the good work being done. It’s refreshing, and we’ve got to emulate that now on the pitch.”

Halstead begin their pre-season programme at Essex and Suffolk Border League Division One side Hedinghams United a week on Saturday, with friendlies against Flitch United, Kelvedon, Harold Hill and Haverhill Rovers also arranged before their season starts on August 8.

n Long Melford take on National League side Braintree Town at Stoneylands for their first pre-season friendly on Saturday (3pm).

Cornard United start their pre-season fixtures with a trip to Cromer Town of the Anglian Combination Premier Division on Saturday (3pm).

n Melford and Cornard have both been chosen to host games in one of the Thurlow Nunn League Groundhopper Days next season.

The First Division champions will host Saffron Walden Town on Friday, September 18 (7.45pm), while the Ards entertain Wivenhoe Town on the following day (12pm).