FOOTBALL: Pinchbeck wary of vultures circling
Ian Dunn admits that Pinchbeck United are suffering a little from the good platform of their first season in the uhlsports United Counties League Premier Division.
The Knights had a strong squad last season, playing attractive football - finishing fourth in the table and reaching the Hinchingbrooke Cup final. As a consequence, a few players whom the manager wants to stay are mulling over offers from elsewhere.
It means early pre-season preparations are perhaps not as advanced as he’d like but Dunn has been in the game long enough to know that the situation remains fluid, particularly as clubs are not yet able to officially sign players.
He’s pleased to already have pledges from Jordan Nuttell, Kofi Ross and experienced UCL defenders Nick Jackson and Stacy Cartwright to stay on. And Nick Bishop returning to the game after a few months out is a key bit of news for Dunn.
He said: “We’ve not been as sharp as others in announcing signings. To be honest I had May off - you have to because otherwise it can consume your life. We’ve lost a couple of players in Luke Wilson and Jason Field, which is a shame because they did well for us. And Harry Vince is going to Stamford, playing back at a higher level. He was coming back from injury and regained fitness with us. Everybody else, we’re talking to.”
The emerging picture for The Knights should become clearer in the next day or two, Dunn added.
“When you have a season where you do well you find that other clubs come and try and cherry-pick your players. So we’ve got lads who have had offers and I’ve had to give them ultimatums because if we are to lose them then I need time to find good replacements. When you lose a Luke Wilson or a Harry Vince, you need to get another version of them in because that’s what makes you successful.
“For us, it’s not just about the playing ability it’s about having the right type of personality at the club.”
For Dunn himself, it will be the first season when he considers himself an emergency player only.
After 22 years playing, the 38-year-old, who had ankle reconstruction surgery three years ago, accepts it’s time to protect his body for the future.
“I still enjoy playing but I want to be able to walk pain-free in the future. So unless we’re desperately short, I won’t be featuring,” he said.
Pinchbeck start their pre-season match schedule by hosting Bourne Town at Knight Street on Friday, July 5 (7.45pm).