Striker coup as Belper beef up squad?

Andy Hawksworth, left, in action for Ossett.
Andy Hawksworth, left, in action for Ossett.

New faces continued to flood in at Belper Town this week as manager Grant Black continued to enjoy success in quickly recruiting a new squad.

Black, appointed only a month ago to replace Aaron Webster, this week brought in centre half Andy Hawksworth from his former club Ossett Town along with goalkeeper Max Beardmore from Tamworth’s U21 side and forward Joel Ambalu from North Ferriby United.

Another centre half is close to signing, but Black is even more excited by the likelihood of landing a striker that would represent a coup for the Nailers.

“I think we need one more striker to be competitive at this level,” he said.

“I think you need four good, proven strikers at this level and I think we’ve got three so far.

“If I can pull the other one off we’re trying to get, which I am pretty confident we will, it will be a major signing for the club and a real coup.

“But it won’t be sorted until 19th June when he gets back off holiday.”

He added: “That should get us pretty much where we want to be. We will then have lads coming in on trial and lads coming back from last season to look at.”

It had been a breakneck first month for Black in the Belper hot seat, but he has enjoyed every minute so far

“I had a good 18 months at Osset where everything was success after success,” he said.

“I left in mid-January and had chance to recharge my batteries before looking for the right opportunity.

“Me and Mick Norbury are now champing at the bit to get going. I enjoy recruiting players and getting the right people in. It’s part and parcel of the job.

“But we can’t wait to get down to the nitty gritty when the season starts which is what we enjoy the most – being out on the pitch.”

Black knew major surgery was needed to the Belper squad after last season’s disappointments and has already brought in a full new team of players.

“Generally if you go in somewhere and it’s not broke, then obviously you wouldn’t be fixing too many things – just tinkering a little bit,” he said.

“But obviously Belper have had two or three years of trying to get back into the Evo-Stik Premier.

“They had a disappointing campaign last season based on what people around the club have said for various reasons.

“It does need changing. It does need mixing up. It needs a lot of different things which we are looking to bring in now with the players we are recruiting.”

Of the latest signings, Black describes Andy Hawksworth as a ‘tough tackling old fashioned centre half’.

“He loves defending and putting his head where people don’t even put their feet,” said Black.

“I have worked really well with him before and I know what we will get from him. He is a very consistent performer who again we are ecstatic he has agreed to come to Belper Town.”

On young keeper Beardmore, Black said: “Max has served his time at Tamworth and is now ready to cement a number one spot in the Evo-Stik League to kick his career on to the next level.”

And on Ambalu, he added: “Joel is a great talent. With power, pace and technical ability we really see him doing things in the league with all of his attributes”.

“He played in the Conference North last season and is hungry to progress, which is great for us to have that kind of appetite.”