Town sign Badgers skipper in transfer coup

REVITALISED Hucknall Town have pulled off a transfer coup by signing the captain of fierce local rivals Eastwood Town, imposing central defender Paul Robinson.

The 27-year-old has agreed to drop down a level from the Blue Square North and join The Yellows' push for the promotion play-offs in the Evo-Stik League, Premier Division in a shock move.

Hucknall's new boss Tommy Brookbanks was delighted to secure Robinson's services.

He said: "Paul is a massive signing for us. I know him from the past and he wanted to come and play for me. We are looking strong at the back now. And we need to be strong in defence because I like my teams to attack."

The tall and powerful Robinson started his career at Nottingham Forest and had brief spells at Ilkeston Town and Hednesford Town before moving to Eastwood.

He scored The Badgers' goal in their 2-1 defeat at Kettering Town in the Third Round of the FA Cup in January 2009. He played in all bar one of Eastwood's games in their cup run that year and also netted against Harrogate Town in the Third Qualifying Round. Last season, Robinson made 31 appearances for Eastwood and scored one goal.

Brookbanks has also added two more potentially exciting signings to his squad in the shape of experienced duo Paul Smith and Wayne Duik. The pair have more than 500 appearances between them in the Football League and the top two tiers of non-league.

Ex-Sheffield Wednesday, Burnley, Oldham Athletic, Hartlepool and Kidderminster Harriers defender Smith can play at left-back or centre-back. A stylish defender, the 34-year-old Smith was recently with Quorn and Sheffield FC where he swept the board in the player-of-the-year awards for the 2008/09 season. He also had a brief spell at Alfreton Town in 2006.

Duik (30), who can play anywhere down the right-hand side or in central midfield, began his career at Notts County and made his first-team debut at the age of 16 as a substitute against Chesterfield in May 1997. He made three more substitute appearances for Notts before being released in December 1998.

He joined Kettering Town in July 1999 and went on to spend seven years with The Poppies, including under England legend Paul Gascoigne when he had an ill-fated spell as boss in 2005. During his time at Rockingham Road, Duik made more than 300 appearances and played in the FA Trophy final in 2000. He has also played for Hinckley United, Eastwood, Matlock Town, Corby Town and Worksop Town.

Brookbanks said: "They are both of good calibre and bring a lot of experience. I'm happy with who I have brought in and it is looking all right. It has been a hectic few weeks but we are pretty much there in terms of playing staff."

Former Retford United striker Darryl Thomas will be at The Yellows' first pre-season training session on Tuesday June 29, with a view to joining the club.

Meanwhile Town have announced that they will have a ladies' side next season. They will play on Sunday afternoons on Watnall Road's training pitch and have launched an appeal for players and kit sponsors. Ring manager Andy Ingle on 07958 129645 if you can help.

World Cup fever continues at Watnall Road tonight (Friday) when Brookbanks will be supporting England against Algeria in the Talk of the Town bar. Admission is free and the entertainment includes a live singer.