Six new signings to be unveiled by AFC chief

ALL SMILES: New AFC Sudbury manager Darren Batch is hard at work shaping his squad for next season with six new faces to be announced, but new signings will not be at the expense of developing the current young players
ALL SMILES: New AFC Sudbury manager Darren Batch is hard at work shaping his squad for next season with six new faces to be announced, but new signings will not be at the expense of developing the current young players

David Batch has wasted little time in putting his AFC Sudbury revolution into gear — capturing six new players within his first full week.

The identities of the half dozen, who were playing in the same league last season, are to be kept a closely-guarded secret until all the paperwork has gone through to prevent the club from being gazumped.

But new boss Batch, who was settling into his first week in the hotseat having been on holiday following his appointment, has said young players already at the club will get their chance to shine.

“We have a situation where we have a lot of young players at the club, or connected to the club, who I have not seen yet and it would be wrong to say I need to sign other players without seeing them,” he said.

“I will wait and see what they bring to the party and I think some will have a lot to bring.

“I do not want to bring in a senior player who might not play every game at the expense of progressing a 19-year-old.”

He added: “It is safer to play some with a better track record, but it is my job to put a team out that does justice to the football club and supporters and if that is someone who is 16, they will play.”

A number of the squad Batch inherited since succeeding Chris Tracey have now signed new deals, but he will not reveal names until he finished meeting with the remaining players this week.

Of the unnamed six, he said: “They are all players who have been playing at this level and that is a good thing.

“I have seen it time and time again when clubs make a song and dance about a player signing only to have their fingers burnt.

“I will wait until I have confirmation from the league and FA before we announce them.”

One player who will definitely feature in his plans though is the man who took caretaker charge of first-team affairs following Chris Tracey’s exit in March, Michael Shinn.

“Shinny was the first person I met,” said Batch. “As he had been caretaker manager there is clearly a fear from his perspective a new manager would come in and be concerned with a player playing for him who previously managing the team.

“But I like having leaders and it is important.”

It will be a playing-only role for 28-year-old Shinn though, after taking training before Tracey left, with Batch believing juggling both roles would be too much.

He said: “He has a lot to give as a player and needs to put all his efforts into that.

“I’ve had player-coaches before and it is difficult to make decisions on players who you then have to go into a dressing room and be with.”

Meanwhile, the club is waiting to hear back from the Thurlow Nunn League on a bid which would see their reserve side playing in the First Division alongside Conrard United, Halstead Town and Long Melford next season.

Batch, who is yet to finalise the date for pre-season commencing, also hailed the testing programme of seven friendlies put together by general manager Mick Pearce, which will see Gillingham, Colchester United and the new boss’ former club Cambridge United among those to visit The MEL Group Stadium.

“There are some fantastic games coming up,” he said. “They are not games I expect us to win or necessarily score a lot of goals, but will expose a lot of weaknesses which will help us work on those, individually and collectively.”

AFC SUDBURY V LOWESTOFT TOWN

Tuesday, July 9 (7.45pm)

afc sudbury v colchester united

Friday, July 12 (7.45pm)

afc sudbury v king’s lynn town

Saturday, July 20 (3pm)

afc sudbury v gillingham

Thursday, July 25 (7.45pm)

haverhill rovers v afc sudbury

Saturday, July 27 (3pm)

hadleigh united v afc sudbury

Tuesday, July 30 (7.45pm)

afc sudbury v cambridge united

Friday, August 2 (7.45pm)

walsham-le-willows v afc sudbury

Tuesday, August 6 (7.45pm)