Bucks hoping striker ‘pipe dream’ becomes reality

Buxton FC  joint manager Paul Phillips
Buxton FC joint manager Paul Phillips

Buxton FC hope to excite fans with the addition of an experienced striker this week.

What had started out as a ‘pipe dream’ for joint bosses Paul Phillips and Steve Halford, who took over the reins in March, is now closer to becoming a reality, though Phillips admitted anything could yet happen with the deal.

The pair have been busy recruiting since the end of the season and are close to completing their squad ahead of Tuesday’s return to pre-season training.

“We are hoping we will have another two in this week,” said Phillips.

“We are working very hard on quite a big one that we hope we can get over the line before next Tuesday.

“It could be a great signing for the club but I obviously don’t want to say who until it’s done.

“But it’s a lad – a striker – who has played quite a lot of football at a higher level and we are hoping we can get this done and dusted.

“It’s one that we’ve known about since the end of last year but we thought it was probably a bit more of a pipe dream.

“The closer it gets, the more hopeful we are it’s going to get done. I have my fingers crossed as a week is a long time in football and things can happen.

“We have given him a deadline of next Tuesday so we can move on to other targets if it doesn’t happen.”

He added: “Obviously we did quite a bit quite early, so there probably won’t be a lot more signings now before we come back in on Tuesday.

“We have put four or five of the younger lads onto contracts from last year.

“We’ve still got seven or eight weeks left. We are not starting until until 18th August so it gives us a bit more time than other people.

“At this moment in time we probably only need two or three. That will be the majority of the squad then.”

If a new striker comes in it could help persuade the Bucks to let Brad Grayson go.

Out of favour last season, Grayson has had a transfer request turned down.

“To be fair Brad didn’t play last year and has expressed he wants to go from the football club,” said Phillips.

“We have told him he is under contract and until we get a replacement or a suitable offer then he will be staying with us.

“But if we can get this experienced lad in it gives us a bit more ammunition to manoeuvre with Brad.

“If this lad comes in it could be the case that he gets his wish. But you never know – it’s all ifs and buts at the moment.”

Despite the player moving south to Birmingham with work, Buxton hope they might still have the services of midfielder Joe McGee next season.

“Joe now starts his job in Birmingham in September,” said Phillips.

“He is going to see how it pans out over the next two three months. I am hoping we don’t lose him as he is a massive part of what we want to do.

“He has relocated to the Birmingham areas but he is still hoping to keep a foot in and commit to us on a week to week basis.”

The management pair are keen to get started on their first full season with the club, though know the current laying down of a new 4G surface at the Silverlands could cause problems early on.

Phillips said: “It’s been a long time coming so we are excited to get started. I think a few people have gone back already and started pre-season.

“But sometimes you can go in too early. It was a long, hard season last season and we were playing a lot of games in a week.

“We’re looking forward to it. It’s a new start.

“Obviously we came in last year and it gives us a bit of an advantage that we’ve had a look at what we need and what the lads are about. It gives us a chance to hit the ground running.

“Our only problem is the pitch not being ready until the 11th August. With it being 4G it may be a bit of a hindrance until we get used to it, but it will be the same for everyone.

“I’m hoping we can get a few training sessions on it and find out what it’s about.”