Diss trio link up with Willows as squad rebuilding job begins

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Walsham-le-Willows have started their summer rebuild with the capture of a trio of signings from Thurlow Nunn Premier rivals Diss Town.

The Willows — who have lost striker Jack Brame and centre-half Nathan Clarke to Bury Town, goalkeeper Duncan McAnally to Norwich United and released midfielder Ryan Foster — welcome midfield duo Dan Easlea and Josh Curry to Summer Road, along with young striker Charlie Webb.

There was a further boost for Paul Smith’s charges with the news top-scorer Andrew Wood is set to remain at Walsham after turning down the advances of defending champions Hadleigh United.

“Much hard work has gone in over the last few weeks on and off the field to make sure Walsham are in a good position to improve in the league and hopefully have a cup run,” said assistant manager Paul Musgrove. “The rest of last season’s squad have all agreed to stay.”

The Willows return to pre-season training on July 3 and have arranged the following friendlies (7.45pm kick-off and home unless stated): Debenham LC (July 10); Bury Town (July 15); Swaffham Town (away, July 26, 3pm); Stowmarket Town (July 29); Team Bury (July 31); Needham Market Reserves (August 2, 3pm).

Stowmarket Town had nearly 20 players sign forms for the club on Monday night after they began their pre-season training at the weekend.

New signings Josh Capocci, Tom Bradlaugh and Baden Holmes were among those to sign as well as player-of-the-year Carl Widdowson and last season’s top goalscorer Wayne Proctor.

However, one player who will not be moving to Greens Meadow after all is defender Nathan Birch, who has completed a U-turn to remain in the Premier Division with Thetford Town.

Stowmarket’s loss is certainly the Brecklanders’ gain with that news being met with great joy by manager Mark Scott.

Scott revealed Birch had become disillusioned with life at Mundford Road following another difficult campaign but is relieved the defender had ‘seen sense’ by deciding to stay.

“Nathan was one of the players in particular that I was desperate to keep hold of,” he said.

“I am now confident he is happy to stay and as far as I am concerned that one can be put to bed because I know there had been a lot of speculation.

“I think he became a bit disillusioned with how things have been going here and fancied a change to go and play with some mates at a club where he had been previously.

“However, fortunately for me I think he has seen sense, and no disrespect to Stowmarket, but Nathan is too good a player to drop down a division.”

Thetford are already under way with their pre-season training programme and have arranged the following friendlies (home unless stated): Dersingham (July 8, 7.30pm); Wroxham (July 11, 7.45pm); Mundford (July 15, 7.30pm); Great Yarmouth (July 17, 7.45pm); Haverhill Borough (away, July 25, 7.45pm); AFC Sudbury (August 7, 7.45pm).