THOMAS Baillie expects the signing of Ross Etheridge to be the first of several reinforcements to ensure Stratford Town are equipped for a frantic run of fixtures.
Goalkeeper Etheridge played four times for Town earlier in the season on loan but now he has joined for the season from Nuneaton Borough.
It’s a timely arrival too with current No 1 Richard Walton’s loan ending next week and it is expected he will move to Coalville Town.
Etheridge, whose career started at Derby County and includes pro spells with Accrington Stanley and Doncaster Rovers, will come into contention tomorrow (Saturday) when Town travel to Halesowen Town. His last appearance for Stratford came at the end of September against Rushall Olympic.
Head of football Baillie told the Herald: “At the time we didn’t want to lose Ross but Nuneaton wanted him back.
“We’ve kept an eye on the situation and now we’ve sorted out a deal that suits everybody. Nuneaton need to get people off their books, we need a goalkeeper with Richard’s loan coming to an end and Ross want to play.
“He is a quality keeper.”
Baillie expects Walton, on loan from Matlock Town, to depart after revealing the keeper had received an offer from Coalville, and one which Stratford could not match. As a loan player, Stratford are not paying all of his wages, with Matlock contributing a portion, but Walton has also changed jobs which makes Coalville more appealing. His loan ends after next Tuesday’s CSS League Cup tie at Didcot Town.
Baillie says he will be looking to add to the squad and hopes to add two or three more recruits in the next few weeks.
With their success in the FA Trophy, Town facing an ever-busy fixture list into the New Year.
Two games have been rearranged, with the trip to AFC Rushden & Diamonds, postponed because of the Trophy tie at AFC Fylde on 15th December, now set for Tuesday, 8th January. The fixture away to Alvechurch, postponed on Tuesday, has been rescheduled for Tuesday, 22nd January.
It means Baillie’s men will be playing Saturday-midweek-Saturday every week until the end of January, a total of 17 matches.
“We need to bring in people; we’ve got so many games coming up and they will take their toll,” said Baillie. “You pick up a couple of injuries and suddenly you’re struggling.”