Wisbech squad good enough to lift the title
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
email@example.com 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.