New Hadleigh United boss Shane Wardley has made his fellow title-winning team-mate Kris Rose an eye-catching first signing, but has said he will not be overhauling the squad in a bid to beat the drop.
The 37-year-old, who led Ipswich Wanders to a 10th-place finish in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division last season before walking away with the side winless after six games this term, was named as Stuart Alston’s successor on Friday.
But the ex-AFC Sudbury fans’ favourite full-back, who also had spells with Cambridge United and Leiston, as well as Wanderers, had a watching brief during Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat to Kirkley & Pakefield before taking over this week.
Ahead of a baptism of fire — with Friday night’s trip to runaway league leaders Felixstowe & Walton United (7.45pm) — Wardley has wasted no time in bringing in Rose, having played alongside the experienced defender in the 2013/14 season that saw Hadleigh win the division.
But after inheriting a team in 21st place and hovering just two points above the bottom three — with the threat of up to seven sides still going down in a shake-up of the non-league pyramid — Wardley is adamant he does not need to bring in a new side to achieve the primary objective.
“I am not going to be signing seven or eight players, that’s for sure,” he said. “We have a good bunch of youngsters there and we just need two or three experienced players. That is all I am looking to bring in at the moment.
“I am certainly not looking to make drastic changes as I think the team spirit is great and you do not want to start disturbing that at this stage.
“I think the main target, with the position we are in, is to stay in the league. Anything above that, like finishing mid-table, would be great but we just have to take every game as it comes.
“We have got to look at finishing eighth from bottom as it could be seven, it could be six or it could be four. At the end of the season we will find out and hopefully we will not have to worry.”
Having left Wanderers with assistant Ian Cornforth, who has come across with him, speaking of being disillusioned with life there, he said: “To be honest I enjoyed the break, but after a few weeks I was missing football and wanted to be back involved,” he said.
“When this one came up I jumped at the chance.
“I played here for two years and won the league here and it is a well-run club with great facilities and a nice pitch.
“It is a big task ahead of us, but I am confident that we will start turning it around and get some results.
“Friday will be a very hard task but I know how Felixstowe play and we will have worked on some bits in training on Tuesday night.”
Wardley, who was one of two candidates interviewed for the job last week, following what was said to be a very healthy response, added he wants to maintain the footballing ethos embedded into the club, but is happy to mix it up where needed.
Of re-signing former team-mate Rose, where he had been regularly playing at Ipswich Wanderers, since Warldey made him his first signing in management, he said: “Obviously Kris Rose is well respected at Hadleigh. He spent several years there and is a leader, and that is what Hadleigh need at the moment.”
But he said he would not be parachuting him in as his new captain, with Damon Artiss still carrying the armband while skipper Ben Elliott recovers from a back injury.
Hadleigh chairman Rolf Beggerow confirmed caretaker manager Andy Crisp will remain at the club.