NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Potential signings given chance to shine by St Neots Town boss as they face Football League opponents
- Credit: Archant
St Neots Town manager Matt Clements is staging a public audition on Saturday afternoon when the club entertain Football League opposition.
Clements will field a host of trialists as Saints face Cambridge United at the Premier Plus Stadium, 3pm, in their first summer friendly as the build up to the new Southern League Premier Division campaign begins.
And the Town chief insists competition is fierce for places in a squad which only has nine confirmed members – summer signings Luke Knight, Danny Watson, Scott Sinclair, Liam McDevitt and Harry O’Malley, and retained players Lee Clarke, Micky Hyem, Jonny Herd and Tom Wood – as things stand.
Clements said: “We’ll face the toughest opposition on Saturday that we’ll come up against all season.
“I’m expecting Cambridge to bring a mixture of youngsters and first-team players, and they will provide a massive test for our squad which is still taking shape.
“It is an opportunity for several potential signings to impress myself and my coaching team in a match situation.
“We have intentionally built the squad in this way rather than signing players for the sake of it early in the summer.
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“We want to get the best we possibly can for every position and create tough competition in the process.
“Results aren’t a major concern in friendlies, but performance levels are important.
“It is our first outing and a chance to set the tone for the rest of the season.
“We’re already working hard in training and it’s about putting some of those things into practice.”
Clements expects ‘seven or eight’ trialists in total to be involved on Saturday.
Prospective goalkeeping recruits Michael Emery – a former Boston United and Gainsborough Trinity man – and Martin Conway - who has impressed for AFC Kempston Rovers in recent seasons - are expected to play a half each.
Alex Archer, the club’s number one for the last 18 months, has departed to join Step 5 side Newmarket Town.
They were also interested in Saints defender Taylor Parr, but he has now agreed to another season at the Premier Plus Stadium.
Another central defender Lewis Ferrell, who boasts National League South experience with Hayes & Yeading in the past, will be in the squad against Cambridge.
At the other end of the pitch, Jevani Brown and Declan Rogers, the club’s two most prolific players last season, could also feature.
Brown has interest from clubs at higher levels whereas Rogers is returning to fitness after breaking a foot back in April.
Admission for the friendly against Cambridge United is £5. Children under 16 go free if accompanying a paying adult.
St Neots then go to Step 6 side Potton on Tuesday.