NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Two players agree to stay, new coach arrives and manager Matt Clements draws up a list of summer targets for St Neots Town

St Neots Town boss Matt Clements (left) and player-coach Lee Clarke (right).

St Neots Town boss Matt Clements (left) and player-coach Lee Clarke (right). - Credit: Archant

St Neots Town are set for major summer surgery following their Southern League Premier Division survival.

Tom Wood will be a St Neots Town player again next season. Picture: CLAIRE HOWES

Tom Wood will be a St Neots Town player again next season. Picture: CLAIRE HOWES - Credit: Archant

Manager Matt Clements admits he could make as many as seven new signings ahead of his first full campaign in the Saints hotseat.

He has already begun the process of retaining current players with defender Tom Wood and player-coach Lee Clarke already committing for 2017-18.

And Clements is also speaking to a number of targets only days into the close season.

“It’s a really busy time and a really important summer for the club,” said Clements.

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“I inherited a squad that was already in place last season, but this summer is now my opportunity to build the group of players I want.

“It’s all about adding as much quality as we can while getting maximum value for money.

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“The club has been involved in two fights for survival and it is essential we start to progress again next season.

“Tom is the type of player I want at this club. He is young, he is honest as the day is long and he has the desire to continually improve.

“He formed a very promising partnership with Taylor Parr in the centre of defence towards the end of last season. We had a chat and it only took a matter of minutes for him to agree to stay.

“Lee will still have the title of player-coach, but he wants to focus primarily on what he does on the pitch.

“That’s fine by me, but it is important that he still has a link with the management team so we can take advantage of his experience and expertise.”

Clements has added a new face to his managerial set-up by drafting in David Bridges as first-team coach.

Bridges, who is based locally, enjoyed an extensive playing career at Football League and non-league levels. He is now employed by the Football Association in a tutoring and coaching role, and holds the UEFA B badge.

“I’ve known David a long time,” said Clements. “He understands the way I want to play and we both have very similar theories on the game.

“He has vast experience in football as a player and he will instantly command respect due to his CV. It’s a massive addition as far as I’m concerned.

“He is also a terrific coach and will certainly help us to improve players while creating a good footballing side.

“The days of there being an open chequebook have gone. We need players who want to strive to better themselves.”

Clements is also seeking to bring in a number two in the coming days.

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