STONES MAKE MARQUEE SIGNING FROM READING
WILKINSON SIGNS READING STAR
BOSS Bobby Wilkinson has completed Wealdstone’s summer transfer business by scooping up a marquee signing from Reading.
Attacking full-back Jake Sheppard, 21, was with the Stones last season for the final 12 games, on loan from the Championship outfit, and Wilkinson has pulled off a remarkable coup by persuading the youngster to sign for the club on a permanent basis, with a view to helping him progress his career as he looks to play at a higher level.
“I never thought we’d get him but we are delighted,” said Wilkinson. “He’s well thought of at Reading and there’s a lot of interest in him so it’s great for us. He is quick and powerful and did well for us last season.
“We wanted to complete our business early and we’ve done that. We signed 13 players on one day and brought in four hungry youngsters who want to be successful with Wealdstone Football Club.
“I only want players who are committed. Anybody who wanted to wait around for a better deal and an extra £60 somewhere else I wasn’t interested in. I don’t wait for anyone.
“That way I know I have got the right players.
“I must say the management team I have got have been first class. They have been working around the clock to make sure we have put together a young, hungry squad and the preparation has been excellent.”
Ambitious Wilkinson said he would like to progress next season, as he has done at every stage of his career, notably with Hungerford.
Stones finished 11th and were still in the hunt for a play-off spot two weeks towards the end of the season, while they famously reached the FA Trophy semi-final before bowing out to eventual winners, Brackley.
“I’m not one to make predictions,” he said. “Yes we’d like to progress but when people ask me what the aim is for next season I say it’s to win the first game. Then to win the second game. I’m not going to say we’ll reach the play-offs. Other managers do that and when it doesn’t happen they get shot down. We will just focus on what is in front of us.”
Wealdstone are a huge non-league club but Wilkinson, when asked whether they were equipped for the National League, said: “It’s a big step. Everybody knows we are a big nonleague club, but the way I look at it is let’s just deal with things when and if they happen. If we were to reach the National League then we would deal with it then.
“For now, we will concentrate on the preparation for next season and do all we can to make it a successful one.
“We have some good pre-season friendlies to look forward to. It’s an exciting time.”
Meanwhile, Wealdstone have picked up the National League Programme of the Year award for 2017/18.
“It’s a great credit to everyone at the club who has been involved,” added Wilkinson.
“It’s a great programme.”
Jake Sheppard in action for Reading