Eastwood bosses spoiled for choice after victories

Nick Hawkins
Nick Hawkins
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Eastwood joint-boss Nick Hawkins says he and Chris Shaw have been left with an embarassment of riches as they aim to finalise their squad for the coming season.

So impressed have they been with the quality and commitment shown by those who have represented the club over the summer, choosing the squad of players for the opening game against Market Drayton on August 17 is becoming a tricky task.

But Hawkins feels that is a nice problem to have.

He said: “Everyone who has come here over pre-season has been fantastic and really given us food for thought when it comes to signing players up.

“If we could have them all, we would, but some will have to miss out and that will be a tough choice.”

A 3-1 win over Heanor Town on Saturday and a 6-0 thrashing of Arnold Town on Tuesday night only reinforced the dilemma, particularly with Tuesday’s squad containing several trialists including Mark Green, who scored a hat-trick.

Hawkins added: “Mark’s been in the army and only playing sporadically at a lower level as a result, but he scored 42 goals in ten games for Shardlow last year and attracted a lot of attention.

“We also had Dereece Gardner up front, who was at Ilkeston last year and who we hope to tie up a deal with by the weekend.

“Arnold are obviously at a lower level than us but Carlton,from our division, only scraped past them 3-2 and the Arnold coaches were highly complimentary of our football.”

Hawkins also confirmed striker Greg Simmons has returned to the club following a spell in full-time football with Barnsley’s academy.

Teenager Simmons was a regular under former boss John Ramshaw as well as in Shaw’s spell as player-manager last year.

Hawkins said: “Having had some time playing full-time football Greg will need to re-adapt to the style and mentality of non-league football again.

“But it’s well-known what he’s capable of and his versatility is important too.”

Eastwood head to Long Eaton United on Saturday before the visit of Ilkeston FC next Tuesday night, with Hawkins adding: “We’ve got three cup finals now with these two games and Matlock next Saturday, and we really need to settle on a first eleven and get them blending well enough as a team to be the side that starts the season.”