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Boss determined to steer Stamford upwards after disappointing league finish

Stamford manager Graham Drury insists he has a point to prove after signing a new contract at the Zeeco Stadium.

The Daniels boss penned a new deal for next season ahead of his side's final match of the Evo-Stik League campaign this weekend.

Stamford look set to finish in 11th place in Division One East after a frustrating campaign following last season's play-off final defeat.

They have seen a host of players depart the Daniels for higher level clubs while their failure to see games out has seen them let points slip from a winning position 11 times this season.

And Drury is determined to put that right by building a strong squad to compete at the top end of the table next season.

Stamford manager Graham Drury with chairman David Whitby and secretary Phil Bee (9155742)
Stamford manager Graham Drury with chairman David Whitby and secretary Phil Bee (9155742)

He said: "Stamford is a fantastic club but, after this season, I've been disappointed with where we've finished.

"I feel we've got a point to prove.

"We need to get the right players tied down to the club and then build with the nucleus of this season's squad.

"I'm going to have a busy summer recruiting and hopefully we will have a decent squad in place for pre-season.

"There's been a lot of fine margins this season. We've been lacking a bit of experience and we've missed the quality of Del Gordon and Henry Eze from the previous season.

"We've also had a lot of players moving to a higher level and the likes of Cleveland Taylor, as well as his football ability, would have given us that experience that we missed.

"We've had a steady six players most weeks, but we've been trying to crack eggs to find the right players and it takes time to settle and gel."

Drury's summer recruitment could also depend on what league the Daniels are placed in for next season.

Some unofficial projections for next season suggest that Stamford could be switched to the Southern League Division One Central but that will not be confirmed until June.

Drury added: "It's up in the air like every season for us. It's never decided until June which is frustrating.

"But the players that a switch of leagues might affect are giving out the right vibes. They love the club and want to be part of what we're building."

Stamford will be without injured skipper Jake Duffy for Saturday's final day trip to Cleethorpes while Mike Armstrong will be missing as he is running the London Marathon on Sunday.

Teddy Bloor and Ryan Seal are both doubtful with knocks after being withdrawn at half-time in Monday's goalless home draw with Wisbech, but Harry Peasgood could be in contention to return after being sidelined with a knee injury.

Drury commented: "We want to finish on a high. It's a tough game, but it gives me a chance to look at some of the young lads.

"We're down to the bare bones a bit, but we'll still be competitive and will look to go there and get a result.

"We've kept two clean sheets in the last two games which has been a positive so we'll go there and hopefully keep a third.

"Cleethorpes are a very experienced side who will have good support behind them. I'm surprised that they're not in the play-offs because they were a side who I tipped at the start of the season."

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