Daventry Town are resigned to losing up to half of last season’s first team squad before the new Southern League campaign starts in earnest in less than two months’ time.
Even though the entire strike force may go AWOL, the Town’s most keenly felt defection will be reliable central defender Marcel Simpson who followed manager Darran Foster from Daventry United a couple of years ago.
As a teacher and part-time gospel preacher, Simpson is a busy man and wants to play football nearer to his Birmingham home. A surprise switch to local rivals Rugby Town is on the cards.
Arguably the Purple Army’s man-of-the-match in the FA Cup first round tie at Chesterfield last year, ‘The Preacher’ has a ready-made replacement at Communications Park in former player-of-the-year Kyle Cartwright.
Cartwright missed almost all of last season with metatarsal problems after returning to his subsequently defunct home town club of Hinckley United. Now he will get the chance to team up with central defender Liam Dolman.
The departures of Adam Confue, Tom James and Mykel Beckley have been well documented, but several other players are earmarked for the exit door after Town’s failed promotion bid.
Former club captain Guy Sanders and Jimmy Husband are reportedly considering retirement, Ashley Deeney’s intentions are unknown, and Mitchell Piggon will lead a new-look strike force.
Top scorer Ashley Robinson and fellow front man Luke Keen are both expected to move on, while Scott Cross has joined newly-relegated sleeping giants Bedford Town.
Beckley clings optimistically to the hope of forging a career in the Football League at the age of 28, but Foster is still in negotiations with the Daventry club’s all-time leading scorer Tom Berwick.
Berwick has already enjoyed three spells at the club but likes to spend the summer months in the hotspots around the Balearics island of Ibiza. Foster would prefer him to prepare for the new season at the Costa del Daventry!
Clearly Foster and assistant Neil Champelovier have plenty of work to do in the close-season searching for recruits at step four level.
Club secretary and manager’s brother Nigel Foster said: “There is no need to panic as the start of the season is still almost a couple of months away. I know Darran is in talks with three or four possible strikers.”
Foster senior conceded that Town will also need to strengthen the midfield and provide cover across the back four if Daventry are to mount a promotion bid in 2014-15.
“The nucleus of last season’s successful team is still in place and there is no reason why we cannot enjoy another successful campaign,” he concluded.
Whether or not Town have the financial clout to match Kettering and Rugby remains to be seen.