8th Dec, 2019

New signings leave Byfield full of optimism

Stratford Editorial 5th Jul, 2018

DARREN Byfield hopes to follow four midweek signings with a couple more additions as Stratford Town begin their pre-season programme of friendlies.

However, the new Town manager says there is no need to rush for signings, with the likelihood more players will become available as the countdown to the inaugural Southern Central Division campaign continues.

Town have recruited wingers Callum Powell and Nathan Olukanmi, midfielder Claudio Dias and centre-back Chris Cox to take the tally of new recruits to seven.

Byfield, who took over as boss from long-serving Carl Adams in May, says he has been delighted with how the squad has been shaping up and he cannot wait to see how they fare on the pitch.

After their first warm-up game at Highgate United last night (Thursday), Stratford visit Boldmere St Michaels on Saturday.

“Everyone is excited about the new season, everybody is excited about the friendlies and getting the chance to play after the sessions we’ve already done,” said Byfield.

“Pre-season games are not about the results, they are about the performances and getting the preparation right for the new season. If you get that right, you can go and enjoy a successful season.

“I’m really happy with what I’ve seen in training. The attitude of the players has been superb, their desire has been superb and we want to see that on the pitch. That’s the test.”

Byfield was delighted to tick off four new pieces of his squad after the arrivals of Cox, Dias, Powell and Olukanmi.

Cox, who can slot into a number of defensive roles, gets his chance to step up the leagues from Midland Premier side Coventry United while midfielder Dias, who came through the ranks at Northampton Town, joins after spells with Banbury United, Corby Town and Potton United.

Powell and Olukanmi have also played at a higher level. Powell has been with Tamworth and Wrexham, while Olukanmi was on Aston Villa and Wycombe’s books as a youngster and joined Cambridge City.

They follow the arrivals of Kynan Isaac, Jack Coates and Bradley Maslen-Jones and Byfield has his eyes on a couple more additions.

“You are always trying to get the strongest squad you can,” said Byfield. “We are close to getting a couple more.

“There’s no rush, though. There will be so many players available during pre-season as teams continue to look at players and some realise they need to look elsewhere.”

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