Table-topping Holbeach United have beaten rivals Spalding United to the signature of highly-rated King’s Lynn Town hitman Jason Turner.
The Tigers swooped to land the former Wellingborough Town goal-machine on Monday night, with boss John Chand managing to persuade him to snub the offer of a contract with the Tulips.
Turner, who notched 11 times for the Linnets this season, is expected to form a formidable Carter’s Park partnership with in-form attacking duo Andrew Tidswell and Tommy Treacher.
He goes straight into the squad for tonight’s (Tuesday) derby with Boston Town at Tattershall Road (7.45pm).
A delighted Chand said: “I had to move fast to secure Jason, especially when it became clear that Spalding were keen. He’s somebody I’ve wanted for a while.
“It’s simple to say, but he brings goals to the team. He’s scored regularly wherever he has played and will bring us something a bit different in attack too.
“He’s also quite an experienced player, which will be vital in the title race.
“There’s been a quite a heavy burden on Andrew Tidswell to get our goals, so hopefully this will ease that a little.
“I think the signing also shows how far we’ve come. No disrespect intended, but a player of his calibre wouldn’t have looked twice at this club a few years ago.”
Spalding boss Pat Rayment, who managed Turner during his spell as Deeping Rangers boss, admits Holbeach have got themselves a “cracking player” – but was keen to emphasise his big-spending side were OUTBID in their efforts to land the forward.
He said: “We offered him a contract to come here on very decent terms, but Holbeach outbid us.
“Hopefully this will dispel any talk of them having a so-called ‘village’ budget.
“But that’s not sour grapes, signing Jason is a real signal of their intent to win this league and I respect that. John has assembled a very good side there and in Tidswell and Turner they have quite a strikeforce now.
“I’m still in the transfer market for new players, but it is a blow to miss out on Jason.”
Responding to Rayment’s budget jibe, an amused Chand added: “All I’ll say is that I’d like to thank one person for helping make the deal happen.
“A number of clubs wanted him, but we obviously appealed to him the most.”
The Turner tussle fans the flames of the South Holland rivalry ahead of the duo’s massive UCL Premier Division Boxing Day clash at Carter’s Park on Boxing Day.
See Thursday’s Spalding Guardian for a big preview to the highly-anticipated showdown.