Sunday, 28 July 2013

Town squad taking shape with kick off approaching

TOWN manager Peter Mulcaster is pleased with how his squad is shaping up with the big kick off less than 2 weeks away. 

Speaking in the wake yesterday's 2-0 win at Nunthorpe in the latest pre-season friendly, he said: "The squad is taking shape now. We had 9 players missing at Nunthorpe, and 9 players who would be in line for a starting place too, so this win shows how strong the squad is.

"In fact I would go as far as to say that when everyone is fit and available we will have a stronger side than we did last season. I am still hoping to complete another couple of signings before the season starts and then we will be ready."

A goalkeeper, as back up for the impressive Dean Hudson, and more strength in depth at the back are the priorities ahead of the opening league match at South Shields on Saturday 10 August.

"Yes, I am looking a goalkeeper as back up for Dean and feel we need more options at the back," said Mulcaster. "I am confident we can announce more new arrivals this week."

While the performance at Nunthorpe was a little disjointed at times, Mulcaster realised the importance of victory.

"When you play a side from a lower league you are on a hiding to nothing," he said. "If you win 6-0 it was only what was expected, but these games are never easy. Nunthorpe worked extremely hard and made it difficult for us. But I was delighted with how we went about our business, even if our final ball was at times, not good enough."

Of course the build up to the game was dominated by the arrival of much-travelled striker Jamie Clarke. With 21 previous clubs to his name, including 3 last season alone, 39 year old Clarke has finally arrived at his hometown club.

"I have known Jamie for a long time," said Mulcaster. "He is a personal friend of mine and I am delighted he has agreed to join us. His family are actually from Northallerton and still live just around the corner to the ground.

"I felt the one thing we were lacking was a striker who could score 25-30 goals after the departures of Adam Emson and Carl Chillingsworth, and Jamie fulfils that role perfectly.

"He has never played in Division Two before but he is relishing the challenge. He hopes to pass on his vast experience to the younger members of the squad and players like Graham Caygill and Danny McLaughlan will only benefit from playing alongside him."

Town now face a further three friendlies before the season starts on Saturday 10 August. Tomorrow evening sees a trip to Heritage Park to face Bishop Auckland before travelling to Billingham Town next Saturday. Then, to complete the preparations, Mulcaster's side visit FA Vase winners Spennymoor on Tuesday 6 August.

"These games will be a good test for us," said the Town boss. "We should have a few players back for the match at Bishop on Monday while others will be unavailable, so again we will see the strength in depth of the squad."

Kick off at Heritage Park tomorrow is 7.30pm.

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