PAUL DAVIS says the decisions of skipper Ross Oulton, Nabil Shariff and Kairo Edwards-John to stay show Stratford Town are heading in the right direction, despite their recent struggles.
Town suffered a 2-1 defeat to Hednesford Town at the Arden Garages Stadium to bow out of their final cup competition of the season.
Despite taking the lead through Ravi Shamsi’s stunning first goal for the club, Stratford fell to a sixth defeat in seven league and cup clashes after Reece King and Tom Elliott netted for the visitors.
But interim boss Davis hopes Town can get their reward on Saturday when they head to Peterborough Sports in Southern Premier Central.
The decisions of midfielder Oulton, striker Shariff and winger Edwards-John to reject advances from other clubs will be a timely fillip.
“I believe we’ve got a good enough squad,” Davis told the Stratford Town Independent Supporters Association website. “Other clubs are looking at our players and in the last few weeks seven-day approaches have come in for Kairo Edwards-John, Ross Oulton and Nabil Shariff but they’ve all decided to stay with us.
“They are all putting in the effort and I just want them to win a game of football. Hopefully that will be this weekend.”
Stratford continued their squad revamp with three players making their bows against the Pitmen – taking the tally of players used this season to 41.
Goalkeeper Jack Bennett, signed from Bradford Park Avenue, and Jai Woollard-Innocent, recruited on work experience from QPR, replaced the suspended pair Harvey White and Kyle Ambris, while former Kings Langley player Matthew Campbell-Mhlope slotted into midfield.
Left-back Woollard-Innocent certainly made a positive impression to earn the man of the match award.
But Davis admits the key is to integrate the recruits to develop a winning formula.
“In my first game as caretaker against Lowestoft I said let’s be expansive and let’s be creative. We created 19 chances in that game yet lost 3-0,” said Davis.
“Since then I’ve wanted us to be bit more solid and that’s been to the detriment of us going forward so we’ve now got to find the right balance where we can cause team problems while at the same time the defenders and the holding midfield players get the protection they need.
“That takes time but I’m convinced we’re going in the right direction. We’ve got to start our season somewhere and there’s no reason why it can’t be at Peterborough on Saturday.”
Ambris can return against Peterborough after completing his ban for his red card against Tamworth.