Long Melford’s preparations for their Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division 2017/18 kick-off, a week today on July 29, have been boosted by a quartet of new players putting pen to paper — as well as much of last season’s squad re-registering.
Jamie Bradbury, who assisted Jules Mumford before his departure from the dugout at Stoneylands after five campaigns in May, will lead the side for the first time in competitive action when Melford host Brantham Athletic on July 29 (3pm) — one of only four fixtures getting under way in the division ahead of the following week’s FA Cup ties.
And he could name at least four new signings in his matchday squad after the club confirmed Callum Hemson (AFC Sudbury Academy), Michael Schofield (Stanway Rovers & Wivenhoe Town), Elliot Walker (Boxted Lodgers) and Luke Payne (Stanways Rovers & Cornard United) have all become permanent additions after impressing in pre-season.
With Jamie Griffiths (Needham Market) having left and fellow striker Michael Runnicles and attacking midfielder Reece Clarke seeming to have also departed, striker Payne could be a key addition with the strong and techncial forward having scored five times in 12 appearance for Cornard last season before several months out injured.
Right-sided Hemson made a couple of appearances in a spell with The Villagers last season, while midfielders Walker and Schofield have both previously played with manager Bradbury at Boxted Lodgers, with the boss feeling both will be capable of stepping up to a higher level.
“We’re very pleased to get the new lads into the squad as they will all add quality and energy to the side, and complement the players we have kept on from last season,” Bradbury said of his new additions.
I’m still hopeful of adding two or three new faces to the group, in addition to signing four of the other lads from last season, and with our reserve team also looking strong and competitive this season, I’m happy with the way the club is shaping up ahead of the new season.
“We know it is going to be a strong division this season, but we are all looking forward to the challenge.”
Meanwhile, the club have also announced the following players from last season’s squad have re-signed: Darren Moyes (GK), Anthony Waugh (DF), Josh Collins (DF), Steve Adams (DF), Jake Jackson (DF/MD), Scott Sloots (MF), Hassan Ally (MF/ST), Sam Bayliss (MF/ST), Nathan Rowe (MF/ST), Will Wingfield (ST).
Melford, who finished 17th last season, won their first game in pre-season as they completed their warm-up matches on Thursday evening, a 3-1 success at Capel Plough that saw Luke Payne and Hassan Ally among the goals.
Previously to that they had lost 2-0 against lower-league Linto Granta and 5-1 and 6-0 against higher-league opposition in Brightlingsea Regent and Braintree Town, all three games played at Stoneylands.
* Don’t miss Thursday’s Suffolk Free Press for a full preview to their 2017/18 campaign.