NEW Redditch United boss Paul Smith insists he has full faith in the new faces he has brought in and continues to seek as he targets a much-needed victory at unbeaten Biggleswade Town this weekend.
The Reds were beaten 2-0 at Stratford Town in Smith’s first Southern Premier Central game in charge but, having had another week to work with the players, Smith is remaining calm about his second-bottom side’s predicament ahead of the trip to Bedfordshire.
Smith leads United into the fixture with a new backroom staff behind him in the shape of Martin Sockett and Craig Nicholls and has also been boosted by this week’s capture of highly-rated centre-back Rob Evans from Coleshill Town.
Having given full debuts to Ed Wagner, Sam Tye and Robbie Bunn at Stratford, where another new recruit – midfielder Joe Adams was a substitute – Smith can now also call on the services of Evans and hopefully striker Dave Reynolds, who has joined from Worcester City but missed out at Stratford due to an ankle injury.
Smith said: “Signing Rob (Evans) is a real coup for the club. I rate Rob highly, he has everything a top central defender needs.
“He has a great work ethic, with a hunger to win football matches, so he fits into the mould of players I want to play for Redditch United.
Reynolds, 29, scored 34 goals in 54 appearances for Worcester after weighing in with more than 50 goals for Malvern Town during his final campaign with the club and will be hoping to replicate the form which made him one of the most revered strikers at this level.
Smith added: “Dave’s record season after season is terrific. He has everything an excellent striker needs and I am thrilled he has agreed to join us.
“We have a good group of strikers already, but Dave will add healthy competition and I hope he will be a talisman for us.”
Off the field, former Reds, Rugby Town and Bedworth manager Sockett has been recruited as Smith’s assistant manager, while Nicholls has moved from his post in the Redditch United Women’s set-up to take on the role of men’s first team coach.
On the appointment of Sockett, Smith said: “It’s vital I have people around me who I can trust and in Martin I definitely have that. He has a wealth of experience in managing and coaching, so he will be a huge asset.”
Nicholls has been hailed by Smith as one of the “best young coaches” and the boss added: “I am extremely excited to have been able to bring him in to support me, staff and players.”
Before joining the Reds, Nicholls spearheaded Coventry City Ladies to a league and cup double, with FA Women’s Premier League Southern Division and Birmingham County FA Women’s Champions Cup titles in the 2013/14 season. He also led Coventry to two FA Women’s Cup quarter-final appearances and West Bromwich Albion Women to one last eight spot.
Reflecting on the defeat to Stratford, Smith said it was ‘disappointing but offered plenty of encouragement’, although he admitted defensive concentration will need to be worked on.
After a goalless half hour, the hosts scored twice in quick concession from set-pieces. Despite plenty of endeavour in the second half, Smith’s charges were unable to mount a comeback, which left him frustrated but encouraged as well.
“It’s a disappointing defeat. It’s a group which is low on confidence after a run of poor results, but I thought for the first half hour we were in the game. However, we suffered another defensive lapse and didn’t show enough concentration, which allowed the opposition to score from set-pieces.
“It was always going to be a tough game after a tricky week – players coming in and going – but I felt we showed some promise and there is plenty for us to work on.
“It’s no secret we’re looking to strengthen the squad. We need a few more bodies to compete for places and give us a bit more quality. I expect us to make some more additions in the next week or two.”