PLANS for the 2016/17 are already well underway for Rugby Town boss James Jepson who is making moves in the transfer market over the summer.
With just three weeks to go until the start of pre-season, Jepson and his assistant are working hard to assemble a squad capable of competing in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division One South.
Valley will be looking to improve on their ninth-place finish last season as they pulled away from the threat of relegation to finish on 60 points.
Jepson’s side has been boosted with the arrival of Andy Gooding, Nathan Fox and Jake Woolley.
Gooding moves to Butlin Road following a three-year stint with Kettering Town. The 28-year-old has also enjoyed spells with both Solihull Moors and Corby Town and Gooding’s experience in the game has led to him being named as the club’s new captain.
“I played with Andy at Kettering and he was one of the best midfielders I have seen at that level, so as soon as I knew he was available, I did all I could to get him here,” said Jepson.
“He was a pro at Coventry City and Burton Albion, and also captained Hinckley in the Conference North at a relatively young age, so he is a perfect choice as skipper.”
Returning to the club is 23-year-old full-back Nathan Fox who scored two goals in 26 league appearances for Rugby before leaving to join Stamford in August 2014.
“Nathan’s another to have played in the Football League, and plays with incredible maturity considering he is only 23.
“He may have lost his way a little recently over the last year or so, but hopefully back at a club that he enjoyed first time round, we can help him kick-on again and I’m sure he will be a great asset to the team.”
Another new face is 22-year-old forward Woolley who joins from newly-promoted Coalville Town.
Woolley played in the Conference National as a youngster for Luton Town and has since had spells with Hitchin Town, Boreham Wood, St Neots Town and Cambridge City.
“Jake had a bit of a stop-start campaign last time due to injuries, but still played his part in Coalville’s success,” continued Jepson.
“The year before he scored 25 times for them though, and he is hungry to get back into things properly now, so with him and Kolo in the side, we know that we have goals in us.”
Also agreeing deals are young defender Aiden Print from Ilkeston who was a former player for the Strachan Football Foundation, 23-year-old former Solihull Moors attacker Alando Lewis and left sided player Conor Green from Stamford.
Jepson concluded: “We will continue to meet players and explain to them what we are trying to build and achieve here and hopefully they will buy into that.
“It’s over just over two weeks until we’re back in training and I really just want to get started now.”
Meanwhile a number of last season’s squad have left for pastures new including Callum Powell (Wrexham), Steve Towers (Coalville), Mitchell Piggon & Matthias Curley (both Chasetown).
The club’s pre-season friendly schedule is almost confirmed and will be released next week.