WITH yet more heavy rain falling this week, Brockenhurst will have to wait a while longer to play their first game of 2014.

The Badgers have been kicking their heels since December 28, but manager Pat McManus has put the enforced break to good use by getting his cherry-picked squad back up to strength.

Having seen top scorer Scott Joyce and central defensive rock Dave Marden follow his predecessor John Pyatt to Bashley, McManus has since lost experi enced midfielder Warren Kenna to the Southern Premier basement boys.

But Brock have boosted their numbers with ex- Eastleigh reserves, Romsey and Stockbridge centre- half Zac Pickett and former Team Solent man Michael Thomas who can play either in central midfield or up top.

As an added boost for the New Forest club, striker Braiden Hamilton – scorer of five goals in just seven Wessex starts – recently turned down a move to Sydenhams Premier title favourites Sholing.

Hamilton seized his chance to shine at Brock after another promising, young forward, Lerone ‘Rudy’ Plummer, had found Winchester City’s interest too tempting to resist.

“I had the same sort of conversation with Braiden as I did with Rudy before he left and it made more sense to Braiden,” said McManus.

“To a degree, what I said has been fulfilled with Rudy because he hasn’t had a lot of game time with Winchester’s first team.

“Club-wise it would have been a step forward for Braiden (to go to Sholing), but development-wise he’s better off with us because he’ll play more, and the longer he plays in this division, the better he’ll get game on game.

“It’s nice for us to keep hold of someone for a change!”

Kenna made his Bash debut in Tuesday’s 4-1 defeat by Stourbridge but, with no disrespect intended, Brock won’t really miss him.

“We’re used to playing without Warren,” said McManus. “His availability was patchy at best because he’s very busy at work and he’d only played twice in about eight weeks.

“We spoke prior to him going to Bashley and he said he couldn’t commit. He owes John (Pyatt) a few favours and said that on the rare occasions he was available, he’d play for Bashley.”

Brock are currently 13th and McManus is confident that, with a settled side, they can climb into the top half.

“The squad’s probably the strongest it’s been for two months and if we can get some stability we’ll continue to give a good account of ourselves,” he said.

“Finishing top-ten would be a massive achievement based on what we’ve got and what’s happened.

“That’s my perspective on things. From a club’s point of view, the goal this season was just to stay up.”