FOOTBALL: NEW manager Darren Byfield says he bears no ill feeling to Ashley Sammons, George Carline and Jim Mutton after they quit Redditch United.
The three players – key figures in the Reds’ finishing Southern Premier runners-up – have confirmed they will be following former boss Liam McDonald to join Hednesford Town.
Byfield, appointed McDonald’s successor last week, spoke to the trio but they had already made up their mind.
Simeon Maye also is likely to follow suit as Byfield faces having to rebuild the Valley Stadium squad.
Byfield is optimistic of signing a striker in the next few days, with talks continuing with several other targets.
“It’s going to be a rebuilding process but I went into the job knowing that would be the case,” said the former Aston Villa and Walsall forward.
“Ash, Jim, George and probably Simeon, they’ve all said they will be leaving through their loyalty to Liam. It’s no slight on Redditch, no slight on me.
“I’ve spoken to the players individually and I wish them all the best, I understand their loyalty to Liam because he gave them their chance.
“But players going is not going to affect my excitement, my ambition and my drive to be successful at Redditch United.
“I’m talking to a lot of players, I’m calling in a few favours and looking to put the squad together with the budget I have.
“I have to say the chairman has been brilliant for me to try to get these players in. As manager, you need a positive relationship with any chairman and I feel that’s already developing with Chris (Swan).”
The good news for Byfield is that both midfielder Max Loveridge and defender Cameron Young have confirmed they will be staying at the Valley.
The Reds are set to begin pre-season with a first training session on June 25, six weeks before the start of the new season.
The Reds are finalising their friendly programme with games already arranged against Loughborough, Highgate United, Bedworth United and Halesowen Town.
The Worcestershire Senior Cup will also be played as a pre-season tournament following last season’s inaugural arrangement.
The Reds will face holders Worcester City in the semi-finals after a first-round bye, with the game to be played at Stourport Swifts on Tuesday, July 19.