AFC Sudbury manager David Batch has announced seven new signings, including 23-year-old striker Jake Reed, whose 20 goals fired Lowestoft Town to promotion to the Conference North last season.
Wide man Kris Newby, who scored 22 goals last season for Witham Town as they were promoted to the Ryman Premier has also signed for the Yellows, along with Waltham Abbey’s 15-goal forward Ayrton Coley.
Experienced Heybridge Swifts midfielder Ryan Maxwell, Grays Athletic captain Craig Pope, a defender, and Ware centre-half Lawrence Yiga, a centre-half, have also agreed deals, along with 17-year-old promising Wroxham midfielder Jack Guyton.
Batch also said he will have trialists who have recently left Football League clubs joining in pre-season.
Forward Reed joined Lowestoft in October last season after making 31 appearances (one goal) in League Two for Dagenham and Redbridge from 2011/12.
His 20 goals for the Trawlerboys last season, en-route to promotion from the Ryman League Premier Division, included scoring in the play-off final in a 3-0 win over AFC Hornchurch at Crown Meadow.
Batch said the deal was done just before it was announced Lowestoft were being put in Conference North, rather than South and was delighted to get him.
“Goals win games and I am hoping with him and (James) Baker, on paper, we have a few goals there.
“We are increasing our chances by getting him.
“I think there were a lot of clubs interested but the key thing with Jake is honesty and we have been very open with what we have done.”
Batch hailed former Northern Ireland Under-21 international Maxwell, who turns 30 on June 16, can play central midfield or right-back as ‘a winner’.
He finished the season at Heybridge Swifts, helping them into the Ryman One North play-offs.
His former clubs include Crystal Palace, Reading, Hamilton Academicals and Raith Rovers after starting at Tottenham Hotspur as a youth player.
His much-travelled non-League career includes spells at Grays Athletics, Braintree Town and Borehamwood.
“He is an absolute winner who will not take any prisoners, even in his own dressing room,” said Batch of the full-time boxing coach.
“Character-wise, he is just the kind of person you need around the football club. — he is fit, strong and mentally tough.”
Newby was the equal fourth top goalscorer in Ryman One North last season, with the 22-goal wideman’s previous clubs including Grays Athletic and East Thurrock.
“He scored a lot of goals from wide and he is a threat,” said Batch of the player who can operate on either flank or up front.
“He is someone else who has won things and carries that experience, he is a good age at 26.”
Experienced Centre-back or right-back Pope’s former clubs include Barnet in the Conference, Cambridge City and Histon.
Batch said: “He is another one like Maxwell, he wants to come here to win things.
“He has played at Conference level for several clubs and has got that pedigree.”
Of 6ft 4in centre-half Yiga, who has previously played for clubs including Billericay and Thurrock, Batch said: “He came to our attention last year. He had regularly played for clubs in the Ryman Premier and above but not as a centre-half, on the wing or up front.
“He came in at Ware after their managerial change when their form was as good as anyone’s and we played them twice in that period and he was outstanding — he defended powerfully and his range of passing was excellent.”
Coley is described by Batch as a ‘strong and quick’ forward who joined Waltham Abbey from Bishops Stortford.
“I like Aryton,” said Batch, “He is like Steve Spriggs but probably a bit stronger.
“He has always been lively against us and I am hoping with better players around him and a better surface, he can go up another level.”
Of versatile teenager Guyton, he said: “We brought him into the youth set-up at Wroxham and I saw his under-18 debut when he was a 15-year-old kid.
“He joined from school in the first year I was not there and we were not particularly surprised he got 20-odd games last season.
“He is similar to Payton (Swatman) in that he can play a number of positions.”
The new crop will join up with the 10 existing players who re-signed from last season: Alex Archer, James Baker, Scott Mitchell, Ryan Henshaw, Jack Wilkinson, Sam Clarke, Matt Daniels, Payton Swatman, Steve Spriggs and Michael Shinn.