IT HAS been a highly productive past week for Redditch United manager Paul Davis who has swooped to sign nine players as the Reds step up their squad revamp ahead of the 2018/19 Evo-Stik South Premier campaign.
Six of the nine will be familiar to the Reds’ faithful having all previously played for United, whilst striker Nathaniel Lewars has also been handed a contract after impressing the manager.
Defenders Jordan Mills, Louis Ezewele and Jamie Ashmore, midfielder Max Loveridge and forwards Luke Keen and Montel Gibson have all put pen to paper and Davis is excited by their arrivals.
They have been followed to the Trico by former Oxford City duo Declan Benjamin and Joel Meade.
Benjamin, a 27-year-old midfielder, will add quality and experience to the squad having enjoyed spells with Banbury United and Kidlington and played an integral part in Oxford City’s promotion to National League South.
Davis said: “With more than 200 appearances for Oxford City, being part of the club’s rise to the National League, Declan is clearly a player who can play at a high level. As a result, we had to fight off strong competition to secure his services, so I am delighted he has chosen to play his football with us.
“He will dictate games and will chip in with goals but, more importantly, he will be a leader for us and that will be crucial ahead of the new season.”
Meade played under Davis’ stewardship at Banbury United and Ardley United and is also familiar with Benjamin, having also being part of the promotion-winning Oxford City side.
Davis said: “Joel is a central defender who reads the game well and will fancy his chances in a race with any striker. Again, there were a lot of clubs vying for his signature, so it is testament to the club we have been able to attract such a sought-after player.”
Mills joins from Derby County after leaving the Rams at the end of the 2017/2018 season. A whole host of clubs were vying to secure the left-back’s signature, so Davis is thrilled to have secured the 18-year-old full-back’s services.
“We have worked hard to bring Jordan to the Trico Stadium. He needs to play senior football and I have no doubt he will play in the Football League if he continues his progression,” said Davis.
“While normally a defender, he has the attributes to play anywhere down the left-hand side. With his talent, he will be a player who will benefit the squad greatly.”
Ezewele joined Redditch in January but injuries hampered the central defender’s progress and supporters only got a glimpse of his capabilities. Davis, though, believes his injuries are behind him.
The manager said: “Having spoken to Louis, I had no hesitation in asking him to stay with us. He is fresh and raring to go. Louis is a top defender and will be a huge asset to our squad.”
Lewars is a player Davis knows well from managerial spells at Banbury United and Ardley United and Davis said the striker “has scored goals everywhere he’s been but needs a run of games to show what he is capable of”.
Ashmore played an integral role in helping Alvechurch secure a second successive promotion last term and the right-back will be a valuable asset according to Davis.
“Jamie is an outstanding right-back and I am thrilled to gain his signature. He is excellent defensively but, like most modern-day full-backs, he is also attack-minded, so we hope he will play his part in adding goals to our team,” added Davis.
Another former United player, Keen, joins from Bedworth after his 18 league goals helped his now ex-team secure promotion. Davis said: “Luke is a proven goalscorer and the coaching staff and I are confident he will carry that form into the new season.”
Loveridge is yet another player who joins the club with a winning mentality after he played an integral part in Bromsgrove Sporting’s Midland Premier title win last season. He is also a former Red and Davis is delighted to have the midfielder back.
“He has a mature head on young shoulders, has bundles of energy and will be a welcome addition to the squad,” said the boss.
Gibson will be particularly memorable to the United support after making several appearances at the end of the 2017/18 season.
His brief spell impressed Davis and the manager believes Redditch have signed “a very special player” who, at the age of 20, has a “very good scoring record and will go on to achieve a lot in the game”.
The Reds commence pre-season training on June 28.