DARREN BYFIELD says the return of Jordan Cullinane-Liburd and Luke Shearer to the Valley Stadium shows Redditch United’s determination to be fully equipped for the challenges ahead.
The Reds boss was delighted to complete the signing of defender Cullinane-Liburd from Stratford Town and striker Shearer from Sporting Khalsa.
Both players had featured for the Reds under former boss Liam McDonald, but headed for pastures new in the summer. However, Byfield has kept tabs on the pair and says their arrival will ensure he has the options to maintain a thoroughly encouraging first quarter of the season into the winter.
Last weekend’s 2-1 win at home to high-fliers Hayes & Yeading left the Reds in fifth place in the Southern Premier table, before they dropped to seventh in midweek, and they will look to continue their progress with a trip to Cambridge City tomorrow (Saturday), followed by a keenly-anticipated home game with Leamington next Tuesday.
“I want a strong squad and bringing in Jordan and Luke will add to that,” said Byfield.
“With the way I want to play, I ask for a lot of energy from the players, with a lot of intensity, and when you play Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday I need to be able to change the team around.”
In his previous spell at the Reds, Cullinane-Liburd featured mainly at right-back but Byfield believes he can tick all the boxes to be centre-back. With Frank Hazell facing a couple of months on the sidelines after being diagnosed with a partially torn anterior cruciate ligament, Cullinane-Liburd’s arrival is more than timely.
“I believe Jordan can be a top-class centre-half who can play higher,” said Byfield. “When I spoke to him in the summer when I took over, he had already agreed to go to Stratford but I’ve watched him a few times.
“He has got all the attributes – he is strong, physical, good in the air. He is also versatile – he can play right-back, left-back, and centre-back – and I want that versatility throughout the squad.
“Luke is another talented player and he has got something you can’t coach – and that’s his speed. That’s something that worries any defence.”
Byfield has been quite rightly satisfied with the squad’s evolution and he was delighted with the win against Hayes & Yeading, which came courtesy of goals from David McDermott after just 17 seconds and then Reece Hewitt’s second-half winner.
“I seem to be saying it every week but Saturday was one of our better performances,” said Byfield. “When the boys are on form, we are a difficult side to beat. We are looking more and more consistent and that is key to doing well.
“The goals we scored were real Premier League quality but the you can’t be Premier League one week and then the Dog and Duck Sunday team the week after. It’s that consistency that you strive for.”