LEAMINGTON’S squad is continuing to take shape ahead of the 2014/15 Skrill North campaign as boss Paul Holleran has made a number of additions to his ranks.
Brakes have moved swiftly to fill the goalkeeping vacancy created by the departure of Tony Breeden to Solihull Moors by securing the signing of Neil Collett.
The 24-year-old spent the latter half of last season at Barwell in the Northern Premier League, having also turned out for Coventry-based Alvis Sporting in the Midland Combination Premier Division after leaving Nuneaton Town at the end of the 2012/13 campaign.
He progressed through Coventry City’s Academy from a young age and spent a year as a professional before being released in 2009. He then signed for Nuneaton before taking a short break from the game, but re-emerged at Mansfield Town, playing several games in the Conference Premier for the Stags before returning to the Boro initially on loan, helping the North Warwickshire outfit to promotion from Conference North in 2012.
He was denied the chance to establish himself in the Conference Premier due to injury and last season turned out for Alvis before joining Barwell in November.
Holleran said: “One area where there is a real shortage of quality at the moment is goalkeepers that are capable of playing in Conference North. That was highlighted to us by coaches and our scouting network over the last few weeks while we’ve been looking at options to bring in, but at the end of it we’ve had a few chats with Neil Collett and we feel he is our best option.
“He is the right age and has experienced plenty of highs and lows in his career already, but is fit and ready to come back and establish himself as a top Conference North performer again.
“Without a shadow of a doubt he is a quality goalkeeper and I feel that at Leamington, playing in our environment, he will blossom, so we are delighted to have got his signing wrapped up.”
Meanwhile, Holleran has made a second significant addition to his attacking options by securing the return of Stefan Moore to the New Windmill.
The Brakes manager had been left with a huge void to fill when fellow Conference North side Brackley Town lured his star striker to St James Park with an offer he simply could not refuse in early January, but he will now be looking forward to teaming him up with Danny Newton, who made the opposite journey and has also committed to Leamington for the new season.
Despite scoring 12 goals in his 19 appearances for Brackley, Moore was unable to help the Saints into the play-off places and has now opted to return to his former club where he enjoyed another goal-laden spell, scoring just over a goal every two games in half a century of appearances after signing in January 2013.
Holleran added: “Stef has had a number of more attractive offers, as he had last summer, but feels he is at a stage in his career where he wants to play somewhere he feels comfortable.
“He had a great rapport with his team-mates and the supporters at Leamington in his first spell and was a model professional. His goals in the first half of last season helped us away from the bottom of the table and along with the signing of Danny Newton he gives us considerable options in attack.”
Moore’s return will also allow Brakes fans to present him with their Goal of the Season award, which he won for his stunning strike to win the game against Hednesford Town last season.
Midfielders Lee Chilton and Craig Owen and last season’s captain and full back Stephan Morley have all agreed terms to extend their stays with Leamington.
“Having been with me for a number of years, Lee, Craig and Stephan know what I want and I know what I will get from them. They have undoubted quality and they are also consistent performers,” said Holleran.