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23rd May, 2022

Draper backs revamped Bees to secure safety

Liam Moakes 19th Jan, 2017 Updated: 19th Jan, 2017

STUDLEY joint boss Keith Draper believes his new-look squad are capable of pulling off what appeared to be mission impossible by securing survival in Midland League Division One.

The Bees manager has overseen a massive transformation of the playing personnel at the Beehive since replacing Kev Kingham in November, releasing 22 players and recruiting 18.

It was a baptism of fire for Draper and fellow manager Vaughan Pearshouse as the Bees faced several of the promotion-chasing sides in their opening weeks in charge.

However, having had time to bed new players in and with a more favourable looking fixture list looming, Draper says the Bees have what it takes to ensure they escape the bottom two.

“We had some tough fixtures over Christmas but by and large gave a good account of ourselves against sides we were not expected to beat,” said Draper.

“We’ve really picked up since and Vaughan and myself are pleased with what we’ve seen from the new players.

“The previous squad was not good enough for this level of football and I was very honest in saying so to the board. I told them I needed to overhaul the squad completely and they’ve allowed me to do that.

“We were nine points adrift of safety at one stage but now we’ve got ourselves into the position where if we win at Stafford Town on Saturday we will overtake them and move out of the bottom two.

“We’ve won five league games this season and have 14 league games left. I think 30 points may well be enough to clinch safety so we need another five wins at least.

“It won’t be easy and we’ve got to continue working hard but, on the basis of what I’ve seen in recent weeks, I believe we have the capability of achieving our aim.”

Draper believes he has the right men alongside him in Pearshouse, assistant manager Dan Dineen and coach Kim Casey, adding: “Kim has great pedigree and we’ve got a set of players now who know each other well.

“Every game is a cup final now but we’ve got plenty of matches left against sides in and around us so it’s in our own hands. Taking four points off Cadbury Athletic (1-1 home draw) and Littleton (4-3 home win) in two of our last three games gives us good momentum and we also played well despite losing 2-0 at a strong Racing Club Warwick side.

“With two cup semi-finals on the horizon too, it means we have everything to play for in league and cup. It should be an exciting end to the season and I hope the players embrace the challenge.”

Among the players to have arrived at Studley under the new management are keeper Alastair Lewis, left back Jake Wicketts, centre backs Sam Delaney and Luke Hennessy, brothers and wingers Josh and Aaron Westwood, Jack McGinn, Oliver Gibson, Oliver Casey, strikers Danny Ludlow and Gaz Evans, Jack Moss, Matty Dorgan and Luke Dugmore.

Also on board in recent weeks are teenage aces Danny Moy (striker) and Brad Carter (keeper) who have moved from Midland League Premier Division leaders Alvechurch.

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