STUDLEY completed deadline moves to draft in youngsters Connor Johnstone and Connor Doyle ahead of Saturday’s trip to promotion-chasing Racing Club Warwick – as well as keeping hold of top scorer Sean Brain.
Teenage forward Johnstone, who was a West Bromwich Albion Academy player, has impressed after training with the Bees, while left-sided attacking midfielder Doyle, who has joined from Coleshill Town, made his bow as a sub in last weekend’s impressive return to winning ways in a 2-0 success at home to Stapenhill.
However, having lost defender Aaron Roberts to Worcester City, Bees joint-boss John Edwards was delighted to retain goal-getter Brain after the ex-Evesham and Bromsgrove Sporting player was also targeted by City.
“We waived the seven days of approach for Aaron so Worcester could sign him and the next day we get another seven days for Sean Brain. It’s a bit naughty,” said Edwards. “By the letter of the law, they should wait another 28 days for another approach for one of our players – and that would have gone past the deadline.
“Sean has had so many offers from other clubs since he came to us and we would never stand in his way but he is enjoying his football here. That’s the most important thing.”
Brain took his goals tally to 23 in 18 starts after converting the first goal against Stapenhill before Dan Carter notched the second to seal a first win in four matches.
It was the Bees’ first game in three weeks and Edwards sensed there was a rejuvenated feel about the squad as they dominated the Swans, with victory keeping them in eighth place in Midland League Division One.
Second-placed Warwick will provide another challenge but Edwards has no doubts his players will raise their game.
“I think the break has rekindled the players’ enthusiasm for the game,” said Edwards. “Having three weeks off allowed us to get a few injured players back but it also allowed the players to recharge their batteries. The enthusiasm was much better, the approach and the attitude was there and you could see that from the warm-up.
“We started the game well and really we could have had a few more goals from the chances we created. That was the only disappointment.
“Now we’ve got a big test against Racing Club but it’s one we won’t shy away from. They will still think they have got a chance of winning the league although I think Heather are the favourites.
“It will a good measure to see how we shape up against one of the top teams but I never worry about us playing the better teams. We always seem to step up to the challenge – it’s when we play the so-called lesser lights that we seem to struggle.”
Studley, who were beaten 2-1 at the Beehive when the sides met in October, will be waiting on fitness tests on winger Sean Cook and defender Anthony Miller.
Cook, who has suffered a miserable time with injuries since being hurt in only his second game for the club in August, had to pull out of the warm-up last weekend after turning his ankle, while Miller also damaged his ankle ligaments on duty for Sunday side Black Horse.