PAUL Smith has added attacking left-back James Bowen to his Redditch United ranks ahead of the club’s vital Southern Premier Central clash against Needham Market on Saturday.
The Suffolk side will arrive at the Trico to face a United team sitting just two places and five points above the relegation zone having taken just one point from the last five matches.
Smith knows the importance of the fixture and the arrival of the former Hereford and Solihull Moors man is a boost for the Reds, who also hope to welcome former Birmingham City striker Jack Storer back into the fold following a frustrating knee injury.
Smith said of Bowen’s arrival: “The left-hand side was one we have been looking to add greater competition in. To add someone of James’ experience and quality is a huge boost for us.”
Bowen, 23, added: “I’m delighted to get the paperwork all done and can’t wait to get going now. Looking forward to this Saturday!”
The Reds head into the weekend fixture against a visiting side still harbouring play-off ambitions and another team with the same hopes – fourth-placed King’s Lynn Town – proved too much for Redditch on Saturday as the hosts won 2-0 in Norfolk thanks to goals in the 26th and 76th minutes from Ryan Fryatt and Adam Marriott.
Smith did not doubt his side’s effort, but admitted the quality was lacking, albeit against a side with a formidable home record.
“We huffed and puffed all game but we were devoid of quality,” said the boss.
“We worked our socks off but the performances of the players were not good enough, especially against a side who’ve only lost once at home, to Stourbridge, this season.
“I’ve spoken to the players about the need for much better both as a team and individually. Players need to take more responsibility and some things need to change.
“We are on a bad run and losing can become a habit – you could see the confidence drain out of the players after the first goal went in – although they did well to hang in there for so long afterwards.”
Smith, though, believes his men are more than capable of pulling clear of the danger zone and avoiding a nervy end to the season.
He added: “There are not many changes to the personnel since we were beating the likes of Halesowen, Rushall and Alvechurch over the Christmas and new year period.
“We are missing the calming influence of Ahmed Ali in the middle of the park, but we need to overcome that and we are capable of doing so.
“With Banbury United away coming up on Tuesday too, it’s a big few days for us and I’ve made the players aware of it.”