11:31am Thursday 10th July 2014
By Andrew Simpson
BRIAN Pritchard has said he hopes the attitude of his newest recruits is adopted by the rest of Witton’s squad.
Attacking midfielder Iain Howard and versatile defender Sam Barnes are the latest signings by Albion this week, both of whom have recent experience of being promoted to the Football Conference.
“It was an easy decision to bring them here,” said Pritchard.
“They have been part of successful teams in the past few seasons, something I felt was important when drawing up a list of targets.
“After a difficult year during which we found it difficult to win regularly, that’s the first thing to improve on.
“They add to what the group has already, and I’m confident now I’ve got good combinations all over the pitch.”
Left-footed Howard played for Stockport County last season after helping Chester to three successive league titles previously.
A wide player with an eye for goal, the 26-year-old is likely to fill a role played by Josh Hancock during recent campaigns.
Pritchard said: “It’s true I hope Iain can find the net for us as often as he has done for his former clubs.
“He’s a player that will excite our supporters, though his strengths are different to Josh’s.
“What I’ve liked already is his approach – he’s a down-to-earth lad and will be easy to manage.”
Barnes, 22, arrives at Wincham Park after playing more than 70 matches for Marine across two spells with the Crosby club.
In between, he was a regular in Hednesford Town’s team when they were promoted via the play-offs from the Northern Premier League’s top flight.
Following Rob Bodie’s exit to Premier Division rivals Skelmersdale United, he is likely to start the season alongside Ben Harrison at the heart of Witton’s defence.
“Sam contacted us towards the back end of last season to ask if we’d be interested in him,” said Pritchard.
“He seemed a bit disillusioned with football, so I told him to call us again after he’d had a break. He was true to his word, and I’m happy to have struck a deal with him.
“I’m disappointed Rob has gone, and I think he’s made a mistake. But that sometimes happens in football, and we’ll move on.”
The arrival of Barnes and Howard takes to five the number of signings made by Pritchard since the end of last season.
Goalkeeper Chris Sanna and left back Michael Lea, both drafted in from Colwyn Bay, and forward Michael Koral are the others.
Witton play a first friendly at Runcorn Linnets next Tuesday, kick off 7pm.
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