Managers are keeping their playing cards close to the chest

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Mildenhall Town manager Christian Appleford hopes to cement his club’s hard work of the last few weeks by sealing their first summer signings.

Thurlow Nunn League clubs have been waiting for the release of registration forms, which were due to be handed out at last night’s annual general meeting, before getting their transfer targets to put pen to paper.

Hall will be looking to thrust themselves into the race for the Premier Division title, but will be looking for replacements for the likes of top scorer Andrew Wood, left-back Darryl Coakley and striker Wayne Proctor.

“Everyone else in the squad has indicated they want to stay,” said Appleford. “In my time there, player turnover has been very low and I think that is part of the reason why we do well.

“The players all want to play for the club and the team, which is why they work very well together.”

Although Wood is a notable exit from Recreation Way, the signing of Allicion Blake from Bury Town towards the end of last season means a striker has not been Appleford’s top priority as he attempts to persuade players to join the club.

“I know the squad I should have, but until they have put pen to paper on that form, you just never know,” he said.

Paul Smith will be looking to build on the Walsham-le-Willows squad that recorded a record high league finish of sixth in last season’s Premier Division.

The Willows’ boss added just one player — left-back Tom Agricole — last summer and turned his relegation-threatened side into title challengers for a long spell of the 2012/13 campaign.

“When you have had a good season, it makes it a lot easier to recruit,” said Smith, who hopes to tie up two new signings now the registration forms have been released. “Everyone in the squad has verbally said they are staying, but you never know until the forms come out.

“I don’t want to stir it up too much because we had a good season last year.”

Thetford Town were due to find out at last night’s Thurlow Nunn League annual general meeting if they had been given a Premier Division reprieve.

The Brecklanders finished second-bottom of the table last season, but with Dereham Town set to be promoted, Wisbech Town and Godmanchester Rovers seemingly moving across to the United Counties League and Cambridge University Press not taking up their promotion from the First Division, Thetford could be allowed to remain in the Premier.

The club announced a fortnight ago that they had agreed deals for strikers Matt Dixon and Wayne Proctor.

Rick Andrews wants to end two-and-a-half years of pain for Stowmarket Town by guiding them into the top half of the First Division next season.

Having stepped up from temporary boss to fill the role permanently this summer, Andrews has moved quickly to put a new coaching structure in place.

Ricky Licence, who jointly led the side with Andrews at the end of last season following the departure of Shane Austin, has been appointed co-assistant manager with Lee Wilcox, while 20-year-old Aaron Hall is the club’s new head coach.

Andrews, whose side begin pre-season training tomorrow, said: “A lot of work has gone in and there is a lot of interest from players wanting to come and see what we are about.

“I’m expecting quite a lot of new faces in and the majority, if not all, of the existing squad re-signing.”

He added: “We will definitely be more competitive than we were last season and would like to think we will finish in the top half of the table.”

Team Bury manager Ross Wilding wants to add some experience to his squad to help his West Suffolk College players cope with the demands of college matches and Thurlow Nunn First Division fixtures.

“Overall, I was pleased with the amount of points we accumulated, but we played a third of our season in nine weeks,” said Wilding. “It’s too much for the college lads with the college matches as well.

“For that cram at the end of the season, our squad wasn’t big enough.”

A centre-half and a striker are on his radar, while the likes of third-year college students Ross Bailey — who turned out for England Schools — and Ryan Taylor are expected to lead the side and feed into the Bury Town squad.

Central midfielder Noel Moran and striker Dion Dozzell — son of former Ipswich Town and Tottenham Hotspur player Jason — will be second-year students this year and hoping to make their mark on the team.