Players relishing new challenge at Crane Sports

A COMBINATION of players with youth and experience are relishing a new challenge at Crane Sports.

The Touchline Sports SIL Senior Division side bounced back from successive losses to defeat defending champions Ipswich Valley Rangers 4-2 last weekend.

Ian Radnor is sole first-team manager this season, assisted by Sam Nunn and Gavin Allen, after Justin Middlemiss had to stand down due to work commitments.

Crane’s chairman Steve Roper said: “Rads has grasped the nettle with both hands and worked tremendously hard during the close season and has brought in some quality players including Danny Phillips, Nathan Woolard, Danny Tatum, Ali Brett, Simon Head, Liam Powell, Matt Wilson, Jack Foster and Gavin Crane.

“Some of these guys have proved themselves to be leading Ridgeons League performers and they are now relishing the challenge of trying to help us win something this season, or next, as we all know it takes time to build a new team.

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“The club are quite prepared to give Rads the time it takes to achieve this and he and the guys are certainly up for the challenge. The emphasis is on building a team of predominately young players but with the experience of the likes of Head, Phillips and Crane to blend and help the others.

“Dan Barker, Liam Powell, Matt Oxborrow and Ali Brett are all young guys who have a great future at our club and Woolard and Tatum, who have come over from Coplestonians, are also only young lads.

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“We have had a mixed start to the season which we can only put down to a settling-in period, especially in defence. We lost our first two games and although we played well in both we shipped four goals in each. However, we scored five into the bargain so the management team knew where we were going wrong.

“Against Ipswich Valley Rangers last Saturday we looked much more organised and solid at the back and fully deserved our 4-2 victory.

Roper hailed the signings of Phillips and Head, and said they would both be a “tremendous asset” to the club. Roper, whose side travel to Capel Plough tomorrow, added: “Our aim for the season, bearing in mind we are rebuilding the team and have lots of new faces, is to finish in the top six of the division and hopefully get a good run in the Senior Cup.

“So far as tomorrow’s game against Capel is concerned we know they will be, as always, a tough side to overcome but if we play the football we know we can and keep it tight at the back, I am sure we have the firepower to gain the right result.”

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