Fuller moves fast to fill squad vacancies

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GOALS galore from Tom Berwick and to a lesser extent Russell Dunkley have propelled Daventry Town from the UCL into the Southern League but both strikers will ply their trade elsewhere next season.

Berwick is to have another shot at the big time with Leamington while Dunkley will drop back down to step five level football at one of his former clubs Long Buckby.

Super sub Josh Blake will follow suit by joining ambitious Stratford Town but reinforcements are close to hand as Town manager Ady Fuller is close to signing a couple of strikers and a talented midfield player.

In capturing Dunkley Bucks’ boss Glenn Botterill is taking a calculated risk as the Communications Park playmaker has not scored a single goal since January because of persistent problems with an arthritic foot.

In the UCL championship winning campaign Dunkley scored 23 goals to Berwick’s 52 only for his tally to drop to 10 last season. Berwick meanwhile added another 31 goals after an abortive spell at Nuneaton saw him play only a few minutes’ football in pre-season friendlies.

Berwick missed out narrowly to Hitchin Town’s John Frendo for the Central Division’s “Golden Boot” award but should use his great pace and midas touch in front of goal to good use in the SL Premier Division at Leamington.

Boss Fuller reflected: “I always like to see any player that I have worked with try to improve themselves at a higher level.

“It’s when players just chase the pennies and go to a lower level that frustrates me.”

Replacements for Berwick, Dunkley and utility player Blake are already in the pipeline though while Fuller has been heartened by the decision of goalkeeping player-of-the-year Andy Kemp to have another season at Browns Road.

Having been released by the Cobblers speedy wide runner Courtney Herbert will join forces with the Town this summer (see separate story) while experienced former Nuneaton, Halesowen and Gresley striker Dave Blenkinsopp will also don purple and white colours in August.

The manager is also talking to another trio of strikers and a midfield player although he recognises the gradual break up of the squad which steered the Town from the UCL’s Division One to the Southern League play-offs in only four years.

Local lad Adam Confue, Martin Hutchcox and Ryan Howell are the sole survivors from those early days but Fuller is confident of challenging the likes of St Neots and Slough Town for Central Division honours in 2011-2012.

Rugby Town could also enter the equation after their close season sideways switch to the Evo-Stik Northern League lasted only about a fortnight before the FA’s Non-League director Mike Appleby had second thoughts.

The change of heart came about because Essex League champions Enfield 1893 failed to meet Southern League ground requirements. The knock-on effect saw Ware stay in the Isthmian League and Rugby make a quick return to the Central Division ranks.

Rugby’s return sets up a couple of much-needed lucrative derby games in a division dominated by clubs on the London perimeter. It also means that should the “Valley” be promoted they will not have to travel as far afield as Kendal in the Lake District and Blyth Spartans in the North East.