1874 Northwich have signed two more defenders and believe they will be harder to beat this season as a result.

Jack Pritchard, picked by his teammates as Congleton Town’s outstanding player last term, arrives to strengthen a backline already bolstered by the addition of Danny Meadowcroft.

Meanwhile Lee Jackson, a full-back who was also a regular for the Bears during the previous campaign, is likely to fill a vacancy created by Matthew Russell’s departure.

“We’re happy with what we have now,” said co-manager Wayne Goodison.

“We have options, and can be flexible with how we play depending on what suits us at any given moment.

“Jack is a young player that impressed us as an opponent; he’s shown some promise in pre-season, is a good athlete and strong in the air.

“He fits the profile of what we’re trying to do.

“Lee is somebody we identified early on, and he can play in a couple of defensive roles. That’s what we want to have.”

1874 announced the return of Ben Woods last week, and are expecting to retain Paul Connor, Jack Lever and Danny Thomas – who has been recovering from a serious facial injury suffered in January – from last season’s squad.

They conceded 50 goals last year, an improvement on the previous campaign but significantly more than the 35 they let in on their debut in the North West Counties League’s Premier Division in 2014-2015.

Goodison added: “We have cover, and we have variety.

“It’s an area we felt needed addressing, particularly as we were vulnerable back there last season.

“Too often we conceded a couple of times in quick succession, or looked shaky protecting a narrow lead.”

He told the Guardian that a forward and a midfielder were 1874’s next targets ahead of an FA Cup meeting with Northwich Victoria on the opening day of the campaign.

After a 5-4 win at Sandbach United in midweek, when Mark Jones scored a hat-trick, they are scheduled to visit neighbours Knutsford in a friendly this afternoon.