STUDLEY boss John Edwards says they have signed the ‘best player who faced us last season’ as part of their summer revamp.
Forward Harvey Smith impressed against the Bees in the colours of Coventry Copsewood but is one of five confirmed new recruits.
Edwards and Wayne Bunn have been pleased to retain the bulk of the squad which finished ninth in the Midland League Division One in their first season at the club, but they have lost top scorer Sean Brain and player of the year Tom Hayward.
Brain, who bagged 25 goals, has been snapped by Coleshill Town and goalkeeper Hayward has gone to university in Bournemouth.
But the Bees have snapped up Smith, former Bromsgrove Sporting and Alcester midfielder Luke Dugmore, forward Odane Barnes from Cadbury Athletic plus keeper Jack Tregartha from Rugby and Louis Stone from Alcester.
Smith will miss Studley’s opening friendly on Saturday when they head to Southam United (2.00) as he regains full fitness after an ankle injury curtailed last season but he is not a long-term casualty.
“Harvey was probably the best player we played against last season,” said Edwards. “He was very, very good against us and I’ve worked hard to get him on board.
“He has been training with us but he is still recovering from damaging his ankle ligaments so it will be a couple of weeks before he is ready.
“We’ve lost Sean but we’ve got Harvey, Odane and we’ve kept Danny Carter, who has looked really sharp.
“Odane is a big, physical front player and he will give us that little bit of physical presence we probably missed last season. Both Sean and Danny play a similar way, looking to get behind the defence.”
Though the Bees kick off their five-match friendly programme with a trip to the revived Southam – admission is free – the players have been put through the paces in the last three weeks under Danny Janes and goalkeeper coach Mark Sanders.
Studley have also drafted in former Alcester joint-boss Richard Briggs to their backroom staff.
“Richard has been a breath of fresh air,” said Edwards. “He hasn’t got a job title, he is just here to help on the managerial side. He is so enthusiastic and that rubs off on everybody.”
After the trip to the Bobby Hancocks Stadium on Saturday, Studley entertain Tipton Town next Saturday and then visit Alcester on Tuesday July 23. They head to Inkberrow on Saturday July 27 before rounding off the warm-up games at home to Coventry Alvis on Tuesday July 31.