Have Hucknall Town unearthed a new unexpected gem?
Hucknall Town boss Andy Graves is hoping he may have unearthed an unexpected gem for the new season.
Ahead of their first three home pre-season friendlies against Sherwood Colliery (last night), Cromford (Saturday) and Eastwood (Wednesday – or Tuesday if England are playing), he has a new talent at the club.
A young player, who was not on his radar, has turned up and impressed in training and Graves said: “I am quite excited by a young player who will be playing for us this weekend.
“He is new on the radar and has come to the last couple of training sessions.
“He has been playing for a team's U19s three levels higher.
“The lad has trained with us and more than acquitted himself. It will be interesting to see how he fares stepping up to play men's football as it's a bit different to U19s. But he looks like he can handle it.
“He is an attacking midfielder or he can play left or right.
“He contacted us. He obviously knows about us and I think he wanted to try to get first team football somewhere at a reasonable level. So he approached us and we are fortunate he did as I think he could be a good find.”
He added: “I have had issues with a couple of players being tempted by other clubs. But I have had a chat with them and hopefully they have seen the light, seen sense and will stay.”
Graves still has two of his main three targets training with them and said: “Hopefully I can confirm a couple of new signings after the weekend games.
“If we can sign two out of the three I was looking at then that's great and will bring in something fresh and different.
“I don't want to bring in more than three anyway. I don't want to lose any of my current lads.
“I have a few kids training with us that won't be far off knocking on my door as well.”
Graves added: “Joe Butler hopefully gets his plaster off his leg this week then he will have to resume and try to build his fitness up.
“I am not envisaging any problems and hope to see him back, if all goes well, it won't be far off the beginning of the season.
“We will have a chat and see where we are once the plaster is off.
“I contacted him the other day and as long as there are no complications with it he can resume some light training at least.
“Then it's about having the confidence to play on it and building it up. “He knows that I value him. We are not going to rush him. He will be a big part of the season.”
Going into the unknown into the new United Counties League, Graves said: “Apparently we have three added teams which means six extra games. I don't know if that will mean an extra promotion place available. It was to be the side that finishes top plus a play-off winner.”
Graves is also currently looking for some quality back-up for keeper Jake Pearson.
“I always believe you need two really good goalkeepers,”he said.
“The lad in our reserves is good but it's whether he would be available for the first team as there will be plenty of midweek games and work shifts and holidays will get in the way for us.
“I might look to do a dual signing with another club somewhere that's higher up and has a keeper who might be available at short notice.”