`

Heath shakes up Reds squad as several players leave

Billy Heath
Billy Heath

New Alfreton Town boss Billy Heath began his overhaul of the Reds’ squad this week as several players departed the Impact Arena.

Brendon Daniels and Tom Allan have signed for Port Vale and York City respectively, the latter having been offered a new deal to remain at Alfreton but instead opting to head north.

The club announced its retained list on Tuesday night, with Chris Elliott, Sam Topliss, Edward Wagner, Lee Beevers, Ryan Jennings, Marcus Marshall, Luis Morrison, James Baxendale, Kegan Everington, Andre Johnson, Chris Sharp and Craig Westcarr all allowed to find new clubs.

Tom Platt, Luke Shiels, Cieron Keane and Craig Disley are those Heath has opted to keep, and he says many more names will join them in due course.

He said: “It was a shame with Brendon and Tom because they’re obviously very good players, but Brendon had a great opportunity to move into the league with Port Vale and Tom has opted to join arguably the biggest club in the National League North.

“But I have several players who have agreed to come here and they will be confirmed in the coming days.

“I didn’t want to clear out the entire squad because there are lads here I know of and who will offer us lots next season.

“But I also didn’t want to mess players around and leave them in limbo as to whether they’d fit in with what we’re trying to do. Nobody who has been here over the last year deserves to have to have the ignominy of some kind of trial period to see if they can stay so I’d rather be clear with them from the start.”

Heath hinted that players he has worked with previously could well follow him to the Impact Arena, and that he is confident he can build a high quality squad.

He said: “Obviously at any level, managers who have new clubs will want to make their own stamp on things and many have players they are familiar with and I’m no different.

“But I want to have a good squad of around 18 players, all of whom will want to play for us and not be here for the finances which is quite refreshing in a game 
swamped with money nowadays.

“I also hope to have the majority signed up ahead of the first day of pre-season because it’s important to get the group together quickly so they can blend both on the pitch but also off it too.”

Meanwhile, the Reds have announced more pre-season friendlies, to add to that against Doncaster Rovers on July 7.

They will travel to Evo-Stik Division One side Carlton Town on Tuesday, July 3 with a 7.45pm kick-off, then host Matlock Town on July 14 at 3pm.

Chesterfield will then be the visitors on Saturday, July 28, also with a 3pm start.

And Heath says he has other games lined up for what will be a good pre-season schedule.

He added: “I’m happy with the games we have arranged and it’ll provide a good mix of standards for us to play against.”