24th Jan, 2019

Boss: New faces needed to aid the play-off push

Redditch Editorial 13th Dec, 2018

SUTTON Coldfield Town front-runner Jonathan Letford has become the latest target for play-off-chasing Alvechurch in their quest to strengthen the squad.

Regardless of last week’s capture of former Rushall Olympic and Hednesford forward Tristan Dunkley from Tamworth, boss Ian Long is still conscious of the need to add further numbers after the exits of three players last month.

“We’ve always liked to carry a big squad – at Tividale and at Alvechurch over the last few years – and this is now the smallest squad we’ve had to work with,” said Long. “We are looking to strengthen, especially with so many games coming up over Christmas.

“We’ve put in a few seven-day approaches for players at a few clubs – which I don’t think has made me the most popular with other managers – but we all do what’s best for our clubs.

“We’ve spoken to a few players but they’ve said they are happy where they are, that’s their prerogative. All we can do is offer the opportunity.”

Long confirmed an approach for Sutton’s Letford – a 24-year-old right-sided player – who is thinking over the Alvechurch offer.

“He is strong, powerful and plays on right-hand side so he would give us a few more options. We’re a little bit lightweight, especially with the heavy grounds coming up.”

Despite failing to win in three matches, Alvechurch remain in the play-off-chasing pack in Southern Premier Central, but they slipped to sixth in midweek after Stratford Town leapfrogged them with their win against Tamworth.

Just seven points, however, separate third-placed Biggleswade to 12th-placed Banbury United.

Long said he felt a goalless draw against fellow contenders AFC Rushden & Diamonds last weekend at Lye Meadow was another positive but they need to take their chances.

It will be a lesson they need to learn when they face one of the longest trips of the season on Saturday with a 400-mile-round trip to fourth-from-bottom Lowestoft Town.

“We’ve dominated possession in the last two games, against Halesowen and then Rushden, but only come away with a draw,” said Long.

“It wasn’t the worst of points against Rushden, they are up there and they showed us a lot of respect and were difficult to break down.

“I was pleased to keep our first clean sheet since the Bedworth game in October but I would have liked a little more of a threat in front of goal.

“If you’ve got aspirations of getting into the play-offs, you have got to win your home games. We’ve got to get back to winning ways on Saturday. That’s the carrot we’re dangling in front of the players.”

Last weekend, Diamonds keeper Ben Heath was busier in the first half to save from Dave Bellis, Ash Carter and Andre Landell and Josh March headed over, while Landell was denied by Heath from Kieron Cook.

However, Church No 1 Paul Evans thwarted the visitors’ Declan Rogers and further efforts from Ben Farrell and Joe Curtis.

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