Wis­bech squad good enough to lift the ti­tle

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Etbusiness Daily -

WIS­BECH boss Steve Ap­pleby reck­ons he is four sign­ings away from have a ti­tle-win­ning squad.

The Fen­men clinched a sec­ond suc­ces­sive fourth place fin­ish in the Rid­geons Premier Di­vi­sion this sea­son and Ap­pleby has moved fast to re­tain the vast ma­jor­ity of his squad.

Only striker Denny Es­cor­cio and mid­fielder Lewisthomp­son have not yet com­mit­ted to the club while wide­man Cal­lum Reed has promised to re­turn only a cou­ple of months af­ter leav­ing.

Reed moved on to Deep­ing to play closer to home while his mother was ill, but only ac­tu­ally ap­peared in one match for Rangers.

Ap­pleby said: “We have a good squad and I have agreed with the vast ma­jor­ity of the play­ers that they will be back. I was very keen to avoid a lot of chop­ping and chang­ing this sum­mer as we are not very far away from be­ing real con­tenders.

“Hope­fully I can make the three or four sign­ings I’m chas­ing as we just need a lit­tle bit more in all ar­eas.

“We need an­other goal­keeper to come in and fight for the num­ber one jer­sey, a bit more com­pe­ti­tion at the back, a bit of added flair in mid­field and some­one to come in up front and share the goalscor­ing bur­den with Chris Ba­con.

“I know who I’m chas­ing and I’ve spo­ken to a cou­ple of my tar­gets al­ready, and it’s a ter­rific boost that Cal­lum feels ready to re­turn. He is a match-win­ner who is as good a player as you’ll find at our level.”

MARCH boss Brett Wha­ley has asked for a big­ger bud­get af­ter guid­ing the club to their best league fin­ish in 15 years.

The Hares achieved a com­mend­able fourth place in the Rid­geons First Di­vi­sion de­spite Wha­ley hav­ing min­i­mal funds at his dis­posal - and that’s some­thing he hopes can change ahead of next sea­son.

But Wha­ley isn’t plan­ning an ex­trav­a­gant sign­ing spree this sum­mer - he just wants his ex­ist­ing play­ers to be paid re­spectably.

Wha­ley said: “The lads were ter­rific through­out last sea­son even though it was cost­ing a lot of them money to play for the club.

“We’ve got play­ers on such small amounts of money that they are out of pocket from trav­el­ling to matches and train­ing. That’s not right and they need to be re­warded for the ef­fort they put in.

“We also can’t af­ford to run the risk of them at­tract­ing at­ten­tion from clubs who pay a lot more money and po­ten­tially see­ing a very good squad here be bro­ken up.” GRA­HAM Drury is back as Stam­ford man­ager . . . and he reck­ons he’s bet­ter than ever.

Drury breezed back into the Premier Kitchens Arena yes­ter­day to start a sec­ond spell in the Daniels hot­seat only 24 hours af­ter it had been va­cated by the sack­ing of pre­vi­ous chief Tommy Brook­banks.

Drury guided the Daniels to pro­mo­tion through the play-offs in their South­ern League days dur­ing his first reign from the sum­mer of 2005 to Jan­uary 2008.

He has gone on to en­joy fur­ther suc­cess since in a four-year stint at Corby Town which came to an end ear­lier this week when his con­tract was not re­newed by The Steel­men.

But things move quickly in the world of non-league foot­ball and a few days later Drury is fac­ing up to his lat­est ‘ad­ven­ture’ as he bids to lead Stam­ford to two pro­mo­tions from their cur­rent Evo-stik Di­vi­sion One South level to the promised land of Blue Square North foot­ball within five years.

It’s a mon­u­men­tal task but one the fast-talk­ing 41 year-old is al­ready rel­ish­ing. Drury said: “Corby chose not to re­new my con­tract de­spite the fact I achieved ev­ery­thing that had been asked of me.

“I shook their hands and walked out of there with my head held high af­ter leav­ing them in their best-ever po­si­tion in Blue Square North and the chal­lenge for me now is to get Stam­ford there.

“We have a five-year plan in place to take this club to that level and it is a job I’m rel­ish­ing.

“Stam­ford should be at least one di­vi­sion higher than they are now

mark.plummer@jpress.co.uk but we be­lieve we can go even fur­ther.

“There is a new ground in the pipe­line and we have to make sure the struc­ture of the club is right on and off the pitch.

“Any club would surely take the op­por­tu­nity to bring back a man­ager who had suc­cess there and at a higher-level af­ter­wards. That is what Stam­ford have done.

“I am de­lighted to be back and I feel sure I come back a bet­ter man­ager, but I’m still the same am­bi­tious, pas­sion­ate and com­mit­ted man.

“Some peo­ple are bound to won­der why I’m go­ing back­wards by drop­ping down a cou­ple of lev­els, but that’s not the way I see this move.”

Drury’s num­ber two at Corby, Paul Holden, will fol­low him to Stam­ford and he plans an over­haul of the en­tire coach­ing and med­i­cal staff.

Drury is keen to re­tain up to five mem­bers of the Daniels squad which fin­ished sev­enth in Evo-stik Di­vi­sion One South this sea­son.

Right-back Luke Gar­ton, util­ity man Rob­bie Mad­dox, mid­fielder David Staff, winger Ty­rone Kirk and striker Bruno Holden are all on his radar but he won’t make any at­tempt to per­suade any of the Not­ting­ham-based play­ers from the Brook­banks regime to re­main.

He will how­ever hold talks with up to eight prospec­tive new sign­ings at the Premier Kitchens Arena on Tues­day and Drury in­sists his ex­pe­ri­ences at Corby will only serve him well back at Stam­ford.

He con­tin­ued: “I al­ways wanted to man­age at Con­fer­ence level by the time I was 40 and felt the squads I put to­gether at Corby in each of the last two sea­sons were good enough to get there.

“Things changed dur­ing those sea­sons though and in the last few weeks of my time at Corby I ba­si­cally had my arms chopped off.

“I had to let play­ers and my as­sis­tant man­ager go and I was left to do ev­ery­thing from coach­ing to fill­ing up the water bot­tles.

“I am a loyal man though and would prob­a­bly have stayed on if Corby had of­fered me a new deal, but they’ve cho­sen to go in a dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion and I couldn’t be hap­pier to be back here at Stam­ford.

“I start with what is pretty much a blank sheet of pa­per and it is up to me to put to­gether the squad we need to take this club for­ward.

“The Stam­ford fans could be for- given for think­ing ‘not an­other re­build’ and ‘not an­other new set of play­ers’, but I’ll make sure this is the right re­build and I’ve got lads com­ing along on Tues­day to have a look around the place and see what it is all about.

“The em­pha­sis will be on bring­ing through and de­vel­op­ing young tal­ent and if that means we don’t have in­stant suc­cess then so be it.

“But the one thing we need to do is make the club more lo­cal again and that will hope­fully help put more bums on seats.”

AXED Stam­ford boss Tommy Brook­banks is be­ing linked with a re­turn to his for­mer club Huck­nall Town af­ter for­mer Not­ting­ham For­est de­fender Des Lyt­tle quit as their man­ager this week.

LAST night’s UCL Premier Di­vi­sion game be­tween Deep­ing Rangers and Hol­beach was post­poned be­cause of a wa­ter­logged pitch at Out­gang Road.

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