05:00PM, Friday 22 June 2018
New signing Ryan Bird, with Maidenhead assistant manager Sam Lock and manager Alan Devonshire
Alan Devonshire feels confident he’s signed the right players to keep the club on its upward trajectory, after the Magpies made Chester’s James Akintunde their fifth summer signing yesterday (Wednesday).
The Magpies manager has bolstered his forward options in recent weeks, with the arrival of former Portsmouth striker Ryan Bird and now Akintunde from Chester.
It’s been a busy summer for Devonshire, who’ll be keen to get the players back on the training pitch from June 30, instead of having his phone locked to his ear negotiating deals for new players. He and the club’s chief scout, his son Lee Devonshire, have been forced to sort the wheat from the chaff in order to bring in quality players and the manager will feel they’ve done just that, with Akintunde following Bird, Herson Alves, Ayo Obileye and Max Worsfold through the arrivals gate.
Devonshire admitted it will be tough to replace the likes of Harry Prtichard, Sam Barratt and Sean Marks, but he’s confident the players he’s brought in will keep the club moving in the right direction.
“I’m pleased with the signings that we’ve made because they’ve all been first choice,” said Devonshire.
“You don’t always expect to get the players you want, but we’ve managed to do that so I’m really pleased.
“All four of the boys that have left will be difficult to replace, because they all had very good seasons last year.
“But I’d like to think the boys we’ve brought in give us half a chance of doing that.”
Akintunde, 22, began his career at Cambridge United, having graduated through the U’s youth system. After loan spells with Sudbury and Histon he moved to Chester in 2016 and has netted 12 goals in 48 National League appearances before the club’s relegation last term.
Bird is the most high profile of the Magpies summer acquisitions, and Devonshire believes he’ll continue the form he’s shown for Dover – where he scored 20 plus goals last season – if he gets the right service.
Bird was plucked out of relative obscurity when he moved from Burnham to Portsmouth in 2013.
He was initially a fans favourite at Fratton Park before falling out of favour, but has been banging the goals in for Cambridge United, Yeovil Town, Eastleigh, Newport County and Dover since then.
“He’s more of a goalscorer than Marksy (Sean Marks),” said Devonshire. “This move works out for him because he lives 10/15 minutes away and knows that the club is moving in the right direction.
“He’s a good footballer, but, with Marksy going, he’s also a targetman that fits the bill here.
“He scored 20 goals for Dover last season and I’d like to think that if we can provide him with similar service he’ll do the same for us.
“But it’s not just about Ryan. I’m delighted with all four of my strikers.
“I think we’ll leave it (making signings) to pre-season now, but if someone comes up who’s better than what we’ve got we’ll take a look,” added the manager.
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