STRATFORD Town have welcomed former Bedworth United manager Liam O’Neill into a reshaped backroom staff for the new season.
O’Neill, who ended last season as assistant manager at Corby Town, has been appointed first team coach in a shake-up following the exit of player and assistant manager Gary Moran.
Paul Eden, who had been coach, will now be Carl Adams’ No 2.
O’Neill and Adams had a brief spell together as team-mates at Bedworth before staying in touch via their rival roles behind the scenes. O’Neill was also assistant at Leamington with Paul Holleran for four years before joining Corby in the middle of last season.
Adams paid tribute to Moran, who had been Town skipper in their promotion-winning season in 2015 and who has had to step down because of work commitments.
“Gary’s work commitments mean he can’t commit himself to his football,” said Adams. “He has just had a big promotion at work and he won’t be available in midweek.
“Gary has played a big part in what we’ve done in the last few seasons and he will sign for us to play, although realistically he is going to be a bit-part player.
Adams, Eden and O’Neill will be in the dugout for the first time tomorrow (Saturday) when Town kick off their pre-season programme at home to Kidderminster Harriers.
Adams admits holidays and absences have meant he has not had a full squad for training so far but summer signings Will Grocutt, Edi Appleton and Barry Fitzharris, who has been away on honeymoon, will be available.
Jordan Cullinane-Liburd, recruited from Redditch United, can face Harriers but is away for Tuesday’s home game with Worcester City and next Saturday’s visit to Evesham United (2pm).
Striker Edwin Ahenkorah will have to bide his time to return to action following the hamstring injury which effectively ended his season in January.
He is back training but will not be risked in their first few warm-up games.
“Edwin’s injury actually proved to be a grade three tear, we didn’t realise how bad it was,” said Adams. “He is back in light training, but he is going to miss three or four of the pre-season games.”
Town have eight friendlies in July, including a newly-arranged match at home to Coventry Sphinx on July 28.