Whoever said the off-season would be quiet in non-league football, they forgot to send the memo over to Devon Cash, Press Officer at the Windsor Foodservice Stadium, home of Northern Premier League East Division side, Worksop Town.
Retained lists, new signings, and a full pre-season schedule has shot out of Sandy Lane over the past few weeks, manager Craig Parry and his staff preparing themselves for the season to come, one set to begin in early August.
The first of manager Craig Parry’s signings, was the now former Matlock Town captain and striker, Liam Hughes; a former professional, Hughes brings vast experience to Sandy Lane, with the Tigers boss telling the club website that: “Liam is someone who we have admired for a long time and is someone who we have personally watched throughout the past year.
“We felt that we needed more of a physical presence up top this year, especially in the way we want to operate, and he brings size, he brings power, and he brings a nastiness up there.
“But he also brings quality, and he is not just a unit; he has ability with the ball at his feet.
“I am excited to see him as part of an exciting new frontline which can combine in different ways.”
Read Hughes’ full interview here.
In addition to the striker, Worksop have brought in Hamza Bencherif, a centre-half from Guiseley, Paul Green, a midfielder last with Boston United, Sam Wedgbury (also a midfielder) from Stalybridge Celtic, defender Josh Wilde from Alfreton Town, Liam Hughes’ team-mate at Matlock, winger Terry Hawkridge, and the former Huddersfield and Bradford City youth player, James Hanson, a striker, who joins from Farsley Celtic.
Of the latter signing for the club, Parry building what looks an exciting, attacking squad for the new season, the manager told the Tigers website that: “He is an absolute monster and is a man who will play down the middle and up top.
“He will be key in the patterns of play, and he will help the way we want to play, and we will have two different options that could see us play two up top and allow someone to run off him.
“He will give us that option if we need to fire the ball into someone and he will bring people into the game.
“We want to exploit his abilities by putting balls into the box with the recruitment of our wingers and full-backs so that we will have more balls going into the box and he will cause problems for the defenders in the air.
“For me, he will be one of the more important signings that we will make, and it has taken us 18 months to find someone like him to play down the middle and it is well known that I like a ‘number nine’ like him and then I can build everything off that whether that’s another striker or the two wingers.
“He brings so many dimensions to us and allows other people to come into the game and I am excited about James joining.”
Read Hanson’s full interview here.
Retained Players – Deegan Atherton, Jack Broadhead, Danny Burns, Luke Hall, Liam Hardy, Sebastian Malkowski, Vaughan Redford, Aaron Sennett-Nielson, Aleksandrs Starcenko, Ben Tomlinson, Nathan Valentine.
New Signings – Hamza Bencherif, Paul Green, James Hanson, Terry Hawkridge, Liam Hughes, Sam Wedgbury, Josh Wilde.
Perhaps the biggest departure from the club is that of striker, Steven McDonnell, his eighteen goals helping the Tigers to a decent finish in the league, as well as netting in the County Cup final (against Maltby Main).
Having formed a goal-laden partnership with Liam Hardy, the now, former Tigers hitman told the Worksop website at the start of the summer that: “I have been happy with my season.
“When I signed, I was brought in to play through the middle and since then we have signed (Liam) Hardy so I have played on the left a bit more this season.
“I am happy to not only have scored my goals but also to have contributed to the team with assists and I think I have had a good season.
“Liam is a good player and a great finisher, and we link up well.
“I also link up with Vaughan (Redford) well and I like playing with him and we all have good banter off the pitch as well and it is a good dressing room.”
The County Cup success was to be his last, taking his own, personal record, to three trophies in three seasons at Sandy Lane.
In addition to the playing staff update, the Tigers have also put out their pre-season schedule, they returning for training on 23 June, two days prior to their first friendly, a home game with Barnsley; Parry has placed eight friendlies for his side to prepare for the new season.
Tigers Pre-Season (inc. KO times) – Barnsley (h, 25 June, 15:00), Farsley Celtic (h, 9 July, 15:00), Rossington Main (a, 14 July, 19:30), Garforth Town (h, 16 July, 15:00), Belper Town, h, 23 July, 13:00), Goole (a 26 July, 19:30) Stamford (h 30 July, 15:00), Mickleover (h, 2 August, 19:30), Huddersfield Town (h, 9 August, 19:45) – NB: these are subject to last minute changes.
*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).
*Main image @worksoptownfc James Hanson signs for the Tigers.