Determined Alfreton Town have underlined their ambition to bounce straight back into the Vanarama National League Premier by securing their eighth signing of the summer.
Striker Joe Leesley has penned a one-year contract with The Reds and featured in the 3-2 defeat at home to Notts County in a pre-season friendly last Saturday.
Leesley, who is 21, actually joined Alfreton in mid-January after he became available when released by Derbyshire neighbours Matlock Town.
And his efforts during a difficult end to the 2014/15 campaign, which resulted in relegation, have now seen him rewarded with a new deal at The Impact Arena.
A tall, powerful and hard-working frontman, Leesley had trials earlier in his career with League One club Bradford City. He also played for Cheshire outfit Winterton Rangers before joining Matlock.
He was named The Gladiators’ young player of the season during the 2012/13 campaign at Causeway Lane, where he also filled in admirably at left-back on several occasions.
Leesley is expected to fgure in Alfreton’s three remaining pre-season friendlies, against Stocksbridge Park Steels, Mickleover Sports and Coalville Town, before the first league game which, ironically for him, is away to Bradford Park Avenue on Saturday, August 8.
One player who won’t be figuring in any of those games, however, is central defender Jordan Keane, who has parted company with the club.
Much was expected of the 21-year-old Keane when he joined The Reds last summer from Premier League club Stoke City, where he spent three seasons and captained their under-21 side for a time. He also had spells with Derby County and Wolves, but he made only 27 appearances for Alfreton, eight of which were from the substitutes’ bench, and is now a free agent.