Hendon sign Harrow Borough veteran to boost back line
PUBLISHED: 13:08 15 August 2012
Hendon are hoping an injection of experience at both ends of the field can nudge them into the play-offs after narrowly missing out last season.
The Greens, who finished three points short of a top five place in May, have moved to snap up veteran Harrow Borough centre-back Wayne Walters – who was given a free transfer after 11 years at Earlsmead.
And manager Gary McCann has also earmarked a pivotal role for former Arsenal striker Isaiah Rankin, 34, who was largely restricted to substitute appearances in his first year at the club.
“Ranks has worked on his conditioning,” McCann told the Times. “He never really got a good run last year, but he affected games massively from the bench and I expect him to be a good foil for the youngsters this season.
“Wayne’s got bags of experience – we felt we needed to add that to the pack, and he is a leader of men, someone who will bring plenty to the table.
“I think he was really surprised to be released, but I understand the reasons – Dave [Anderson] wanted to improve the depth of his squad over there. We want experience in the right areas and we’re mixing that with youth.
“We’ve had most of our players come back – we’ve not had to integrate too many into the group but I’m happy with what I’ve got and I expect them to hit the ground running.”
As well as 37-year-old Walters, the Hendon boss has also added Welling midfielder Dean Cracknell, Uxbridge’s Michael Murray and Chesham United hitman Bradley Wadkins to his squad this summer.
Wadkins has impressed in pre-season and may start alongside Rankin when the Greens get their season under way at Margate, with fellow strikers Elliott Charles and Greg Ngoyi currently unavailable.
McCann has tipped the Kent side to challenge for promotion this season, along with Lowestoft Town and the Greens’ next three opponents – relegated Hampton & Richmond Borough, Bury Town and Whitehawk.
“We need to get a positive start,” McCann added. “Margate are one of my dark horses – they’ve added a few experienced players and they don’t concede too many.”
“I honestly feel that, in our first five games, we’re playing four of the teams I expect to be in the top eight. It’s a tough start but the pressure those games bring is what we thrive on.”
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