Belper Town move swiftly to add quartet

Belper town v Stocksbridge Park Steels. Saturday 9th March. Belper Town manager Grant Black.
Belper town v Stocksbridge Park Steels. Saturday 9th March. Belper Town manager Grant Black.

Belper Town have moved swiftly this summer to bring in a cluster of new signings to strengthen their promotion challenge next season.

The Nailers have acted quickly to secure the services of defenders Phil Watt and Cameron Steel and forwards Jon Froggatt and Charlie Dawes.

The quartet of new faces add to the capture of central midfielder Sam Wright who joined the club earlier this month from Sheffield FC.

Belper boss Grant Black was keen to add quality to his squad following a ninth-placed finish in the Evo-Stik NPL East Division last campaign.

And is pleased with the business done so far this summer, with potentially a few more irons in the fire.

“We’re building nicely,” Black told the Belper News. “I didn’t think we were too far away last year.

“The phone’s been red hot - we’ve had a lot of people contact us - but I think we’ve got to be careful not to change too much.

“We don’t need to, we’re adding what we felt we missed last year.

“We’re not bringing people in for the sake of it, which is sometimes what people want to do, but it’s not what we need to do this year.

“If anything else pops up that we can’t turn down then we’ll take it but I think it’ll start to calm down over the next few weeks.”

As well as ins, there have also been outs.

Belper lost the services of Piteu Crouz, who has joined Matlock Town, and Isaac Assenso, who has gone to Scarborough Athletic, this week.

Black said: “We knew some people were going to move on.

“The players who are coming in are replacing the ones going out or adding strength in depth.

“It’s part and parcel of football. Piteu Crouz had a decent season for us, overall.

“We wish him all the best in his move going forward. It’s a step up for him. You wouldn’t want to stand in anyone’s way if it’s an opportunity to move up.

“I wish him all the best, as do the club, he did a really good job for us.

“Fingers crossed it works out for him and if not he’ll always be welcome back at Belper.”

Dawes, a former Sheffield Wednesday youth player who also had a brief spell at Chesterfield, is expected to challenge for the shirt vacated by Crouz.

“He’s a really good winger who on his day can really be a handful for any team in the division,” said Black.

“I feel like he’ll be a fans’ favourite like Piteu Crouz was and we’ll have another one come in who will challenge for that place as well.

“Charlie’s had a stop-start couple of seasons, as had a few of our players before last season, but we’re hoping he adapts the same way others have done and shines for us.”

While the manager welcomed the return of Watt.

“Phil’s been at Belper before and knows the club well.

“He’s an old fashioned centre-half and we’re lucky to get him in.

“We chanced our arm with him and it was really refreshing to hear his ethos on things.

“It felt like the perfect fit after our meeting and we wanted to get him signed as soon as we could, before he could change his mind,” smiled Black.