Former Derby defender Mark Dudley signs for Rainworth MW

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With the start of pre-season less than a week away Rainworth MW secured another signature in 23-year-old former Derby County defender Mark Dudley.

Dudley, who was at Brigg last year, committed to the club last week after a meeting with manager Kevin Gee.

Mark who has previously been at Notts County, Derby County, Hinckley, Stafford Rangers, Tamworth and Alfreton is well known to Gee, who said: “ I’ve known Mark since he was 14 when I worked with him at Notts County and, although still only 23, he has a CV that he should be proud of.

“He has a lot of experience for someone so young; but as with all young professionals the transition once released from League clubs can be quite difficult.

“It results in being passed from club to club over a short space of time which in itself is difficult to adjust to.

“But you also lose an important part in your development.

“I’m a big believer in developing young players, and Mark again fits that bill, but the Evo-Stik is a tough baptism for young players and they have to grow up very quickly.”

He added: “I know Duds is still hungry to progress up the Pyramid; having probably bottomed out; so it’s up to me and my backroom staff to accelerate Mark’s development and see where it takes us.

“There is going to be competition for all places this year, something which, unfortunately, due to financial restraints, we have not been in a position to do since arriving at the club.

“For the players, both the existing and new ones who have committed, and those who have expressed an interest to come and have a look at us; have no guarantees.

“It’s a blank canvass from next Tuesday onwards and the players pick the team not me; so I’m looking forward to getting started.

“We will have been back three weeks before our first pre-season game on the 6th July against Shirebrook when I’m hopeful by then our squad will have been finalised.

“I have to be fair to all the players concerned; considering the large number wanting to train with us.

“This should give those players time to join other clubs; should they not make that final 20.”

On his signature Dudley confirmed: “I have known the gaffer for the last nine years and liked the sound of what he and the club are trying to achieve and where they want to be.

“I want to be part of it as Rainworth are a progressive club that try to play football in the right way. I know how the gaffer works and what standards and demands he sets, and of course Chalkie is a first class coach. So I am looking forward to the new challenge.

“I know they believe in developing players and getting the best out of somebody, but it has to be a two way thing and you have to buy into those methods and be totally committed.”