CARL ADAMS wants new signing Michael McGrath to help Stratford Town add more silky style to complement their steel.
Midfielder McGrath marked his first start with a goal as Town bounced back from a first home defeat of the season – losing 2-1 to Histon on Saturday – with their biggest win of the season on Tuesday – a 3-0 success against Biggleswade Town – at the DCS Stadium.
Manager Adams admits the flowing nature of the games in the Southern League Premier Division has been a pleasant surprise and he says Town need to be prepared to keep improving their own play.
McGrath, who joined from Rushall Olympic, fits the bill as an experienced playmaker.
After starting at Aston Villa, his CV includes spells at Kidderminster Harriers, Redditch United, Stourport Swifts and with Galway and Sligo Rovers in Ireland.
“At the start of the season, I thought it would be a dogfight for us,” said Adams. “I thought we would have to dig in and scrap for points.
“But after 10-12 games now, I’ve got the opposite view. Teams let you play, let you have time on the ball. You’ve got to be able to pass the ball and carve open teams.
“Bringing in Michael will help us. Ball retention is a massive part of this league.
“On Tuesday, he was able to show how good a player he is. He is a very calming influence on the team, He can do bits of everything but when we get him on the ball he is going to be good for us.”
After admitting Town paid the price for a dismal second half performance against Histon, Adams was delighted with the response against a lively Biggleswade.
A first clean sheet since the first week of the season reflected some solid defending and the Town boss says the challenge is to repeat such performances on a regular basis.
They head to Bideford on Saturday looking for successive wins for the first time since the first two matches of the season.
“We reacted really well on Tuesday after the disappointment of Saturday,” said Adams. “It was a tremendous performance.
“Now we have got to start putting two to three wins together.”
Edwin Ahenkorah netted for the fifth match out of the last six with two goals in Tuesday’s entertaining home win over Biggleswade.
Top scorer Ahenkorah took his goals tally to seven for the season, netting the first on four minutes from a Kieren Westwood cross, and then converting a second on 29 minutes after keeper Ian Brown spilled a long range McGrath shot.
Another blunder from Wades’ keeper Brown presented McGrath with his goal on 62 minutes, with a 25-yard shot being fumbled into the net.
Ahenkorah had again been on target on Saturday but Stratford let a one-goal lead slip to lose to Histon.
The summer signing from Redditch smashed home a delightful angled drive after Simeon Tulloch led a counter-attack from a Histon corner on 31 minutes.
However, Sam Ives levelled for the Cambridgeshire visitors just before the interval and Town simply could not respond in the second half. They struggled to create many chances and Histon hit the winner when the ball fell to Tom McGowan to slot home on 66 minutes.
Stratford will again be without the suspended Dior Angus for the trip to Bideford.
The winger completes his three-match ban and will be in contention for Tuesday’s Red Insure League Cup first round tie at home to Kettering Town.
Strikers Tyrone Fagan (work commitments) and Kev Charley (knee injury) are also absent. Charley is still a couple of weeks away from being fit.
Town have confirmed their Birmingham Senior Cup tie against Coventry City will be played on Wednesday, October 21 at the DCS.
The Sky Blues are set to send their U21s side for the first round contest.