Saints in race to sign keeper

Report by ANDREW McGILL ST NEOTS Town manager Scott Houghton is facing a race against time to secure a goalkeeper ahead of this weekend s league opener. With last season s regular first team keeper Martyn Patching away in America and youngster Ryan Hunt h

Report by ANDREW McGILL

ST NEOTS Town manager Scott Houghton is facing a race against time to secure a goalkeeper ahead of this weekend's league opener.

With last season's regular first team keeper Martyn Patching away in America and youngster Ryan Hunt having opted to join Biggleswade, Houghton finds himself left short of options between the posts.

Former Peterborough United midfielder Houghton told The Hunts Post: "The goalkeeping position is one we are not sure on at the moment but we will do our utmost to get someone in time."

Saints played a trialist in goal in Saturday's 3-3 friendly draw against Arlesey which saw new left winger Aaron Fenny net twice.

Houghton said that he was pleased with the squad he had assembled and was looking forward to his first full United Counties League season in charge.

Most Read

St Neots open their season with a trip to Bourne Town on Saturday, followed by a home match against Wootton Blue Cross at Rowley Park on Tuesday.

Former Yeovil Town man Barrington Belgrave is suspended for the first three games of the season, while Russell Lawes also misses out.

St Neots finished in 17th position in last season's UCL Premier Division, during which they had three managers, Steve Kuhne, Steve Young and Houghton.

Houghton, 35, admitted he was delighted to have secured the services of Kuhne as a player for this season.

He said: "It is a big signing for us. Kuhne is a goal scorer but he is also good for the younger players at the club and I think he will bring out the best in Ryan Francis up front."

Houghton said that he is fully expecting his side to challenge in the top half of the table.

He told The Hunts Post: "I have always been a winner in football and I wouldn't have stayed at the club if I didn't believe we could challenge in the league.

"There are one or two clubs who have splashed the cash but the infrastructure is there for us and I want to see us challenging to get into the top six positions."

Off the field, former director of football Jon Taylor will not be involved with the first team this season due to increased work commitments.

Ivan Finch continues in his role as assistant player-manager, though he is away for the league opener, and Ian Parr will act as first team coach.

Houghton said: "It is important to have someone to bounce ideas off on the touchline and with Ivan Finch playing, Ian Parr will play an important role this season."

Houghton, a serving police officer, said he expects to be available for at least 95 per cent of St Neots' fixtures following negotiations with his Inspector.

The club are scheduled to move to their new, multi-million pound stadium at Loves Farm at some point in 2008, depending on the developers and the readiness of the pitch.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter