BURY Town were closing in on their first senior signing of the summer yesterday as they looked to tie up a deal that manager Richard Wilkins described as a ‘no-brainer’.
Time is of the essence for the Blues, who open their Ryman League Premier Division campaign with a home game against fancied Carshalton Athletic tomorrow (3pm) before a trip to recently-relegated Thurrock on Tuesday (7.45pm).
The only business the Ram Meadow-based outfit have completed all summer is to bring in back-up goalkeeper Will Viner, but Wilkins is hoping that will change by the weekend.
“He would be a good signing – maybe not in the position we are looking for, but he’s somebody who would start,” said the Blues’ boss of the unnamed target, a centre-half who has played in the Conference for a number of years.
Wilkins added: “I’m hoping we will be able to bring one new face in by the weekend and if we get the player we want that could kickstart one or two more signings.
“We are at a bit of a crossroads. We’ve made the play-offs two years in a row and haven’t quite been good enough to get to the level we are aspiring to.
“To get to that level though, we need a few better players.”
A trial match at Ram Meadow on Tuesday did not yield any new signings, while the Blues have opted not to take on former Rangers and West Ham United striker Jack Werndly, who has instead joined St Neots Town.
Of the trialists Wilkins has looked at during pre-season, goalkeeper Viner has signed on as cover for Marcus Garnham, but a dual registration deal with Woodbridge Town striker Alicion Blake has been stalled by a hamstring injury to the forward.
Bury are still hopeful of tying up a dual registration contract with former Needham Market captain Rhys Barber, who is now with Felixstowe and Walton United.
Portuguese midfieder Pedro Souza — who Wilkins admits needs at least half a dozen games with Team Bury to build his fitness — has agreed to move to Ram Meadow, but international clearance is still required before he can play.
“Everyone seems to be a little gloomy because we haven’t signed three players, but I’m not,” said Wilkins. “I have confidence in the players in the squad.”
Midfielder Lee Reed — who underwent a hernia operation at the start of the summer — is closing in on full fitness, while skipper Tom Bullard (knee) and striker John Sands (ankle) look set to be fit enough to feature from the start tomorrow.
One man who will be missing is assistant boss Ben Chenery, who is unavailable for the first two matches with commitments booked just after leaving Chelmsford City.
Tomorrow’s opponents Carshalton have enjoyed an altogether different summer to Bury, with no fewer than six players joining the Robins, including experienced former Wimbledon and Southend United striker Wayne Gray.
But Wilkins is hoping to catch the Blues’ visitors cold.
“We are on our patch and want to start well,” said Bury’s chief. “It’s a tough fixture because Carshalton have brought in a lot of new recruits and pay a lot of money.
“We need to get off to a good start and being at home gives us that opportunity to do so.”
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