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Holbeach United make flurry of signings for their United Counties League campaign

Holbeach United boss Phil Barnes is hoping to have a nice mix of youth and experience at his disposal this season after adding seven players to his squad this week.

The Tigers chief has retained the services of Luke Avis from last season's United Counties League Premier Division squad and has also brought back Reif Clarke back to the club after a spell with St Neots last term.

Five of the Tigers' emerging talent - Brad Waters, Josh Baldwin, Will Barnes, Jordan Elston and Alex Richardson - have also been recruited to the first team squad for the coming campaign.

Brad Waters. (39010210)
Brad Waters. (39010210)

The quintet impressed for Holbeach's reserve side in the Peterborough League Premier Division last season with goalkeeper Waters and midfielder Richardson winning the joint players' player of the year accolade.

Elston took the reserves' chairman/sponsors player of the year award as well as the supporters' crown and was named Under 18 players' player of the year while the sharing the fans' accolade with Barnes.

Midfielder Barnes and left-back Baldwin both featured on the bench for the Tigers first team last season and boss Barnes has been impressed with how the youngsters have acquited themselves in training.

He said: "There is a few more youngsters within the club with potential, but those five did exceptionally well last year and we'll have a good look at them in the pre-season friendlies.

"They have done well in training and don't look out of place, but we're not getting away from the fact that we want to be up there in the league and we need experienced players with United Counties League pedigree as well."

Avis has been with the Tigers for the past three seasons after joining from league rivals Deeping Rangers while Clarke started the 2018 campaign with Holbeach before moving to Pinchbeck.

Luke Avis (right) is back with Holbeach United for another season. (38977576)
Luke Avis (right) is back with Holbeach United for another season. (38977576)

Barnes added: "Luke binds everything nicely together from what I saw of the games last season.

"He has had a couple of games with me for the reserves when he was coming back from injury and he just knits the midfield and attack together nicely with his intelligent runs so I'm pleased to get him on board.

"I spoke to Reif soon after I got the job and he was keen to come back.

"He's got something to prove in adult football this season. He's bit and bobbed about at places and has had the odd injury as well so it will be nice for him to progress and show what he can do."

The Tigers have already retained the services of goalkeeper Rick Drury, defenders Nick Jackson, Adam Jackson, Jon Fairweather, Luke Wilson, Tom Smith, skipper Spencer Tinkler as well as strikers Josh Ford and Jonny Lockie.

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