5th Jul, 2020

Bees bid to hang on to ace Smith

Redditch Editorial 23rd Jan, 2020

STUDLEY face a new fight to keep one of the key men in their promotion charge after rivals Atherstone Town targeted front-runner Harvey Smith.

Bees top scorer Dale Edwards earlier this month rejected an approach from Alvechurch but now Smith, the club’s second top marksman, is wanted by fellow Midland League Division One promotion-chasers Adders.

Joint bosses John Edwards and Wayne Bunn made it clear they are keen to keep hold of the forward who has netted 14 times this term.

“Atherstone have put in seven days for Harvey but hopefully we can hang on to him,” said Edwards.

“He seems to be happy playing for Studley but I suppose it will come down to what they offer.

“I really rate Harvey and I think he can go a long way. He is ambitious and we’ve always said we wouldn’t stop him if a club from a higher league came in but Atherstone is a sideways move.”

Edwards admitted Smith was one of the few plus points as a below-par Bees saw their unbeaten 16-match league run came to an end in Tuesday’s 1-0 defeat at NKF Burbage.

They will have an immediate chance for revenge when the Leicestershide side come to the Beehive on Saturday.

“We probably got what we deserved – on chances, on the balance of play, I wouldn’t begrudge Burbage the win,” said Edwards.

“They played really well and got at us from the start. A defensive mistake led to their goal after four minutes and that gave them something to hold on. We had chances but their keeper made some great saves.

“We only had two players who really played to the standards they’ve set themselves in the last few months – Jordan Jones who has been really good for us and Harvey Smith who was a threat every time he got the ball.”

Edwards added: “It’s a strange situation to be playing the same team in successive league games but I’m glad now because we’ve got the chance to put things right after Tuesday.”

Studley will hope to have Dale Edwards back in action on Saturday after a hamstring injury ruled him out in midweek, while Smith faces a fitness check after taking a few whacks to his ankle at Burbage. Fellow striker Odane Barnes, however, misses out due to work commitments.

Edwards and Bunn are likely to make changes to the line-up and they expect a response.

“With the strength of the squad we’ve got, when the team underperforms it would be wrong if we don’t make changes,” added Edwards.

“If I was on the bench, watching the team play poorly and then not get my chance, I would be disappointed. I’ve always said if you play well, you keep your shirt. If you don’t, somebody else will get their opportunity.”

Saturday’s fixture marks the start of four home games in a row for Studley, with Cadbury Athletic visiting the Beehive on Tuesday before Stafford Town are the guests next Saturday.

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