LEAMINGTON have received a close season boost with the news that key duo Danny Newton and Joe Magunda have extended their stays at the New Windmill, as has midfielder Richard Batchelor who missed the whole of the 2013/14 season through injury.
Striker Newton was last season’s top scorer and has agreed terms with boss Paul Holleran to play for Brakes in the 2014/2015 season, whilst recently crowned Manager’s Player of the Season Magunda has agreed to a third season at his hometown club.
After arriving at the club in January initially on a loan deal from Brackley Town after Stefan Moore had gone in the opposite direction, Newton quickly became a favourite of the Brakes’ support with his all-action displays and fired an impressive 11 goals in his 18 appearances in the last three months of the season to help the side climb away from the lower reaches of the table.
Having also scored ten in 13 games for Barwell at the beginning of the season prior to his move to Brackley, it is a fantastic start to the squad building for the new season to be able to secure the signature of a proven goalscorer.
Newton began his career at Hinckley United, coming through the youth ranks and making over 120 appearances in Conference North before a spell across the A5 at Nuneaton Town.
Leamington-born Magunda joined Brakes in the summer of 2012 after winning the Southern League Premier Division championship with Brackley Town and he added a second medal to his collection the following season with some solid workmanlike performances in the heart of the Brakes midfield.
Magunda graduated from the academy at Leicester City and featured for the Foxes reserve side before a loan spell at Conference side Woking in 2008. After his release from Leicester, Magunda made 21 appearances for Kings Lynn in 2009/2010 in the Northern Premier League before the Linnets were wound up in late 2009.
He was one of a number of players snapped up by Jon Brady at Brackley and became a fixture in the Saints side that reached the play-offs in 2010. He has also been capped by England at U18 level.
Barring injury and suspensions, Magunda should break through the 100 appearance barrier for the club next season.
Batchelor has recovered from his cruciate ligament injury and is raring to go, much to the delight of Holleran.
“It has been a long haul back for Richard following his injury in pre-season last year. He was hugely disappointed to be missing football and even more so because he was missing out on Conference football,” said the manager.
“I have been very impressed by his approach to his rehabilitation following the operation last November. His physical conditioning is great and he can’t wait for pre-season to get started. It really is like signing a new player and a highly motivated one at that, who wants to prove he can compete and play at this level.”
Meanwhile, Brakes have also made their first signing of the close season with the capture of central defender Stuart Pierpoint from league rivals Solihull Moors.
The 30-year-old has a wealth of experience in the higher echelons of the Non-League pyramid after starting his career at Oldbury United, having previously turned out for Stafford Rangers and Nuneaton Town prior to his move to the Moors in 2011, and links up with the Brakes boss for the second time in his career.
“I first signed Stuart about ten years ago from Sutton Coldfield Town when I was at Halesowen,” said Holleran.
“He’s a good experienced defender and has had a good career. Solihull wanted him to stay but I think he decided it was time for a change and I’m delighted that we’ve been able to sort something out because I think he is just what we need – a good experienced centre half who can defend well.
“He was somebody that we were looking at bringing in before Liam Daly left (to Moors along with keeper Tony Breeden), but obviously with Liam going it was even more important that we made this signing.
“I’m sure Stuart will be a good asset for us on and off the pitch and he’s certainly somebody the fans will take to because he is ultra-professional. We look forward to Stuart linking up with us and I’m sure he will have a successful time here.”