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Steve focuses on Shortwood after Scott deal falls through

STEVE CLARIDGE will continue his search for new blood after the loan deal that he thought he had sorted out to bring in Swindon Town striker Scott Twine ahead of tomorrow’s game at Shortwood United fell through.

            After negotiations with Swindon over the previous week, the Whites manager believed he had his man but National League South club Chippenham Town were yesterday chosen as the teenager’s destination.

            “It’s disappointing,” said Steve. “We thought we had Scott and we sat on the deal for several days. We announced it when the paperwork was all ready to be signed but they’ve obviously had a rethink in the last couple of days and wanted him to go to a higher ranked club, as is their right.

            “The deal falling through has nothing to do with whether or when it was announced by us or whether we thought it was a formality. In the end, there’s nothing we can do when a club currently higher up the pyramid comes in for someone and the parent club thinks that is a better option for them. That's their choice and they do what they think is right by them and the player, though I do think we would have been a good place for the lad to develop.

            “We’ll keep looking but we’re not desperate. There were good signs against Farnborough that we have a blend of players capable of scoring goals and a system capable of delivering them.

            “At this stage, they may not come from two players like last season, but I’ve been encouraged that Kane O’Keefe scored four in four games and Marvin Brooks is getting used to us and we’re getting used to him and the clever runs he makes. We’ve got threats from other areas too.

            “You have to be careful. Sometimes, bringing a new striker in cold can upset the balance and I don’t necessarily want to do that if you’re not certain it’s the right one given how we played in the 3-2 Cup win and how we are adapting to each other now.”

            Steve will be looking for plenty of the Farnborough spirit and cutting edge when Whites go to Nailsworth for the Evo-Stik South West match against a Shortwood side who have lost both their home league games so far, though beat Slimbridge 2-1 in the Gloucestershire Senior Cup in midweek. Wood have taken four points from two games away for a solid, mid-table start.

            Whites are now in better shape and will take a party of 16 to Meadowbank, where they won 3-0 towards the end of last season in their run-in to the runners-up position.

            Captain Kane O’Keefe (groin), Danny Young (thigh muscle) and Eddie Perrett (ankle) will travel and have fitness tests ahead of the game, though Brandon Mundy (Achilles) and Chris Shephard (calf) are still not ready. Calum Brockway will continue his rehabilitation playing for Hamble Club. Against that, Stuart Green is back after being away last weekend.

            “It’s another one where we’ll look after the fitness tests, gauge the pitch and make a selection from there,” said Steve. “I need to balance getting three points with wanting to get the side right for the big Cup tie at home to Poole next Saturday.

            “It was a bobbly pitch there at the end of last season but all the Shortwood people were telling me that it’s really good at the beginning of the season.

            “I’m certainly looking for us to show the same attitude and finishing as when we went there in April.”

 Whites squad: Searle, Colson, Baggridge, Wannell, Wheeler, Hart, Herbert, Benson, Whelan, Roberts, Tavares, Young, Green, O’Keefe, Brooks, Perrett.

*For those travelling to Shortwood, the postcode is GL6 0SJ and supporters are advised that the approaches to the ground are narrow. The home club do not produce a paper programme but an online version can be downloaded 24 hours before kick-off at: http://www.pitchero.com/clubs/shortwoodunited/d/documents.html