Nailers pick up two new signings from dissolved Ilkeston FC

Striker Dexter Atkinson (left), who has the potential to be a favourite with Belper fans, says joint boss Paul Donnelly.
Striker Dexter Atkinson (left), who has the potential to be a favourite with Belper fans, says joint boss Paul Donnelly.

The signing of two new players from dissolved Derbyshire neighbours, Ilkeston FC, has given a boost to Belper Town’s pre-season preparations.

The Nailers have recruited striker Dexter Atkinson and central defender Max Thornberry ahead of the 2017/18 campaign, which kicks off next month.

Joint manager Paul Donnelly spoke enthusiastically about both players and feels they could be good acquisitions. He even predicts that Atkinson will become a firm favourite with the Belper supporters.

“I think the fans are really going to like Dexter,” Donnelly said. “He is extremely quick, he’s got good feet and he’s a very positive player.

“I’ms sure there are still things to work on with him, but he’s the sort of player we want to bring into the club. He’s young and hungry, so we think he is one whio will excite the fans.”

The 21-year-old Atkinson can play as a central striker or out wide. As well as Ilkeston, he has played for Dunkirk, Stapleford, Clipstone and Sheffield FC, and also had a spell in Gibraltar playing for Europa Point.

Thornberry is an imposing but technically gifted defender who came through the Ilkeston FC academy. He is considered a long-term prospect who should improve as he gains experience.

Donnelly said: “Max has got a lot of ability on the ball. He may not be one that is in the team week in, week out, but he will certainly be given the chance to prove himself and to take his opportunity.”