Danny Laws completes revamp of Needham Market squad

SIZE, strength, speed, stamina and skill.

Those are the attributes that Needham Market manager Danny Laws believes his new signings will bring as his side attempt to win promotion from Ryman League Division One North at the third time of asking this season.

Laws, whose side have been beaten in the play-offs in each of their two seasons since winning promotion from the Ridgeons League, has completed his squad’s revamp with four more signings.

With seven of last season’s beaten play-off finalists having departed from Bloomfields, Laws has undertaken a major rebuilding exercise for the second successive summer.

In addition to Bury Town duo Kieran Leabon and Craig Nurse and AFC Sudbury’s Nathan Clarke, Laws has now added goalkeeper Alex Archer, left-sided player Jemel Fox and striker James Hubbard, while goalkeeper Mark Bowden returns, after being at the club last season.

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Archer, who will be 19 next month, has been at Peterborough United for the last two years.

Laws said: “He had loan spells at Stamford and Ilkeston before being released at the end of last season, but he is 6ft 1in and a mature lad with a good presence about him and I am really pleased to get him.”

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Fox returns to Needham after spells at both AFC Sudbury and Leiston.

“With Rhys Barber failing to agree terms there was an opening for a left-sided defender, and he has played at this level for a while now,” said Laws.

Hubbard, who has made a big impression since joining Woodbridge a year-and-a-half-ago, will not be available until after the Olympics

“His availability has been patchy in the past, because he has played a lot of football for the Army, but he is not being posted anywhere for at least the next year,” said Laws.

“He is a big target man, but is also very mobile, and gives us a different option up front.”

With Needham operating on a reduced budget this season, Laws responded to mutterings among the non-league fraternity that his side may not be a force to reckon with this season.

“At the end of the day you don’t retain the likes of Bradley Barber, Pip Boyland, Danny Bloomfield and Sam Newson and add to that AFC Sudbury’s player of the Year Nathan Clarke and someone of the calibre of Kieran Leabon if you are struggling.

“I believe the additions we have made tick all the boxes I was looking for.

“If you look at all the players we have signed, regardless of the financial resources I have at my disposal, they meet the five S’s – size, strength, speed, stamina and skill.

“They are all young, hungry and ambitious players.

“We now have an average size of 6ft in our squad, which I wanted, with an average age of just below 24.”

Striker Lee McGlone, who was at Needham during the second half of last season, is getting married tomorrow and will not decide on his future until after he returns from honeymoon.

Needham also have three other players currently on trial – Bury Town/Team Bury pair Ryan Clark and Josh Curry and Matt Cripps, who was with FC Clacton.

“They are currently training with us and looking to impress, and there is a chance one of them will be added to the squad after we have had a good look at them in our pre-season games.”

Needham start pre-season tomorrow with a trip to Kirkley & Pakefield and then travel to play Diss Town on Tuesday before four home matches against Histon, Colchester United, Lowestoft Town and East Thurrock United.

“We have got two away games against good Thurlow Nunn Premier Division sides and then four matches at home against higher-league opposition,” added Laws.

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