LEWIS Blackbird is the key to the Mildenhall Fen Tigers’ team building as the promoters wait for him to return from holiday today.
The Tigers are keen to retain fans’ favourite Blackbird for the 2012 season after an impressive return to the sport this year.
And until the West Row outfit gets a definitive answer from the 24-year-old son of Mildenhall legend Carl, their plans for the rest of their seven-man squad are on hold.
“We want to speak to Lewis first because he is above seven points and, if there was a problem, it would affect everything else and which direction we went in,” said co-promoter Michael Lee.
Former Isle of Wight man Brendan Johnson has been on the Tigers’ radar, while interest in Buxton star Robert Branford has cooled, although that could be re-ignited if Blackbird — who is thought to be keen on staying at West Row – has a change of heart.
Meanwhile, Mildenhall’s search for a three-point reserve has led them to Stoke Potters man Ben Reade.
However, the 20-year-old – who was dropped by the Potters in September but snapped up weeks later before going on to impress in the National League Knockout Cup final against the Tigers – is understood to have a verbal agreement in place with Stoke to re-sign for next year.
“We are speaking with him,” confirmed Lee. “But he has already verbally agreed something with Stoke, which we didn’t know about when we spoke to him on Tuesday afternoon. We have told him to have a couple of days to talk with his family about it.”
The Tigers have already signed Dan Halsey for the 2012 campaign and are also set to bring back teenage Aussie Cameron Heeps.
Aaron Baseby and Lewis Blackbird are also set to sign up, but two from Joe Jacobs, Mark Baseby and Jack Hargreaves will have to find another club as Mildenhall look to bring their total starting averages below the 40-point limit set by the National League.