Stamford AFC secure the service of key players and make double swoop from Kettering Town
At times in recent seasons Stamford AFC has seemed a bit like a revolving door with players coming and going.
However Daniels manager David Staff has put an end to that by securing most of his current squad for the 2015/16 season, as well as making a few new additions.
Stamford’s outstanding skipper and defensive rock Richard Jones has agreed terms to extend his time at the club along with fellow centre back Tom Batchelor and full backs Lewis Carr, Gareth Jelleyman and Dalton Bettles.
The five combined will give the Daniels a consistent look to last season’s defensive unit.
In the midfield Jon Challinor and Dan Lawlor will be back as will young Uppingham star Jordan Neil who scored a wonder-goal in the Lincolnshire Senior Trophy final on his debut.
Excitingly for the Daniels their skilful and composed attacking midfield magician Dan Clements has also agreed to stay at the Evo-Stik NPL club next season.
Clements joined midway through the season and after taking a couple of games to find his feet was a revelation for Stamford, winning man of the match accolades and scoring a hat-trick against Grantham.
At his best he has the skill-set to inspire Stamford’s attack and offers a touch of class to blend with their athleticism up front.
Vice-captain Jordan Smith will also pull on the red shirt again next season and it was announced last week that St Kitts and Nevis international striker and club top-scorer Ryan Robbins has signed a year extension to his current contract.
Coming into the club are a pair of familiar faces who Staff knows will buy into the club’s philosophy.
The Daniels have secured the service of striker Josh Moreman, and goalkeeper Richard Knight from Kettering Town.
Both players featured for the Daniels last season.
Manager David Staff said: ‘With his experience and presence Knighty will be great for us. He had a successful season last year and knows how to manage a back line. It’s good to have him back. If I had a number one target over the summer it was Josh Moreman. It’s no secret we needed forward options from last year and he can both score and create.
“I’m a big fan of Josh and he’s still young so has improvement still in him. There’ll be more recruits to come also, probably at least another midfielder which I’m working hard on and also maybe another forward option.”
Knight will replace out-going keeper Andy Stevens, who, while a decent shot stopper, was prone to the odd error and had very poor distribution from his goal kicks which stunted Stamford’s attack from source.
Joining Stevens through the exit door are a pair of players the club will be sad to see leave. Defender Ryan Clarke and relegation saving hero Tom McGowan.
Staff said: “All three have been with us most of season and we thank them for their contributions, three good players with very good attitudes.
Despite playing at right back Clarke won the most man of the match awards for the Daniels last season.
Staff added: “We are still talking to a couple of members of last season’s squad also, some of which are away and some don’t like to make decisions until closer to July time when teams get back together.
“I’m no different to fans and want to bring in the best players possible, they’ve clearly got to fit into wage structure though and positively contribute to the team. The first part of post season has gone well.
“I’ll continue to work hard to get the right ones in ideally before July 2, if not the 15th.”
Another player who will leave the club is striker Courtney Meade who had a mixed time at the club. At times he seemed to struggle with the pace of the game and far too often failed to deliver a final product after getting into good positions, either out wide or in on goal.
Big striker Greg Smith, who joined late in the season having bounced around numerous clubs, is one of the players understood to be in negations. At times he looked like could offer something different to the Daniels and if he could get a good pre-season under his belt and sort out his disciplinary record then he might be able to work his way into the side when it is at full strength. He could certainly offer a game-changing option off the bench.
Staff confirmed that injured midfield duo Cameron Powell and Shaun Richards will also return next year.
He said: “In terms of last season’s squad Cameron Powell and Shaun Richards have agreed terms and they feel like two new signings.”
Right winger Richards, 24, signed from Loughborough Dynamo in March 2013 but only made 14 appearances last season after getting injured in October.
Central midfielder Powell signed for the club last summer having played for Oadby Town and Coalville Town, and played in all five of the club’s wins in their blistering start to the season before picking up a season ending injury.