REDDITCH United boss Darren Byfield remains calm despite interest in his players from higher ranked clubs – and preferred to view it as positive recognition of how well his side had performed this season.
Boss Byfield revealed exclusively to the Standard that 16-goal (all competitions) leading scorer Dior Angus – who jointly tops the Southern League Premier charts with Hereford’s John Mills – has spurned seven-day approaches from Alfreton Town, Tamworth, Leamington and Stourbridge.
Further to that, gifted midfielder Andi Thanoj has this week been subject of an approach from Alfreton and Byfield said he would find out next week whether the playmaker would be staying or going.
However, attacking midfielder Ash Sammons this week made a hugely popular return to the Trico Stadium from Solihull Moors and Byfield has also agreed a deal for Merthyr Town striker Stuart Fleetwood, subject to international clearance.
Sammons, 26, played a massive part for the Reds as they reached the play-offs under Liam McDonald in 2015/16, whilst 31-year-old former Cardiff City, Hereford United, Forest Green Rovers and Luton Town marksman Fleetwood would be another impressive addition.
“These approaches are testament to how well we’ve done as a team this season and we have to take confidence from that,” said Byfield.
“Football clubs, especially in non-League, can be victims of their own success in this respect and that’s the nature of the beast.
“We have scouts from higher ranked clubs watching our players all the time and of course we are desperate to keep our strongest assets.
“Dior (Angus) has been a revelation this season and Andi (Thanoj) is a top player, so fingers crossed neither will be going anywhere.
“I am thrilled to have got Ash (Sammons) through the door. He is a serious footballer at this level, both in open play and with his set pieces. I’ve been after him for 14 months now so to finally bring him here is brilliant.
“Hopefully there’s positives news regards Stuart (Fleetwood) any time now and we can really start to build an even more exciting team as we look to put pressure on the sides in the play-off places.”
The Reds ended a six-match run without a league win with a highly impressive 4-1 victory over fellow top five hopefuls Frome Town at the Trico on Tuesday, which followed Saturday’s frustrating 2-1 defeat at Royston Town.
Byfield was delighted with the midweek response as goals from Sammons, Angus, Orrin Pendley and Kevin Monteiro put the hosts 4-0 up inside 50 minutes before Mitchell Page bagged a Frome consolation midway through the second half.
On Saturday, Spencer Weir-Daley’s 44th-minute goal had put United ahead but Royston hit back to win as Martel Powell scored just seconds into the second half before Scott Bridges netted the winner just before the hour.
Byfield said: “We were excellent in the first half on Saturday but missed some superb chances to put the game to bed. Seeing off teams when we’ve been on top has been a problem recently and it reared its head again.
“We should have been out of sight at half time and I warned the lads Royston would come out all guns blazing in the second half, but unfortunately it fell on deaf ears.
“However, I couldn’t have asked for more on Tuesday. Having Ash Sammons in the team really gave everyone a lift and it was a brilliant performance in a key game.
“It’s taken us above Frome into seventh and given us great confidence heading into Saturday’s game at home to Bishop’s Stortford.
“We’ve got some really tough games coming up with Slough and King’s Lynn away to follow but we’re a good side and we’ll be having a right go at them.
“There’s a huge amount of points still to play for. Including cup matches we’ve played 25 games this season and I can honestly say I’ve been disappointed with the boys on only three occasions. That’s not bad going.”
Meanwhile, striker Danico Johnson will be leaving the Trico Stadium, with his former boss McDonald believed to be a suitor at Rushall Olympic.
STUDLEY dropped to second place in Midland League Division One after being held to a hard fought 0-0 draw by lowly Brocton at the Beehive on Saturday.
The Bees are now behind leaders Walsall Wood on goal difference having played three games more ahead of Saturday’s visit to mid-table Heath Hayes.