SHOLING have recruited an extra goal machine, Alex Baldacchino, to boost their four-pronged attack on silverware.
The former Havant & Waterlooville and New Milton Town hotshot this week completed his signing for the Boatmen from reigning champions Blackfield & Langley – just a day after the Watersiders had inflicted Sholing’s first defeat of the Sydenhams Premier season.
Baldacchino banged in 33 goals in 35 Wessex games for Blackfield last season to spearhead their title charge.
This term he has netted 11 in 15 Wessex games but has been sidelined of late with an ankle injury and is not yet ready for his Sholing debut.
Given that the lethal Lee Wort has already plundered 29 goals in 26 Wessex games for the Premier Division title favourites, some might argue that Sholing do not need Baldacchino.
But with the league, FA Vase, League Cup and Russell Cotes Cup to concentrate on, Diaper says it’s imperative to “cover all angles” heading into the business end of the season.
“We’ve also got Ashley Jarvis and having two strikers playing and one on the bench is no different to having six or seven midfielders to choose from,” he said. “To win things you need rotation and benches are all about quality, not quantity.
“We need that strength in depth because things can change very quickly in football.
“At Blackfield we lost Lee Bright and Pete Castle to injury. Who would have thought we’d lose two centre-halves in one match?”
Of the two crocked defenders, Castle, pictured, is giving most cause for concern. It looks as if the former Reading, Bashley and AFC Totton man has suffered the recurrence of a pre-season knee injury which sidelined him for six weeks.
Castle not only misses tomorrow’s league trip to Verwood but is almost certainly ruled out of next Saturday’s massive FA Vase last-16 tie at home to Larkhall Athletic.
“Pete’s looking at three to four weeks out,” said Diaper. “Lee Bright’s is a calf strain but he’s not available in any case tomorrow because he’s going away and I don’t think he’s back until Thursday.
“Mike Carter would normally cover there, but he’s out after cutting a tendon in his thumb at work and I’d imagine it’s touch and go for him for the Vase.
“We’ve also had Tyronne Bowers out after injuring his back playing badminton and Marc Diaper’s been working.
“Young Danny Miller is back from injury, but he’s hardly played. Dan’s a great asset when fully fit, but he’s still rusty where he’s had no continuity of games.”
Much as Tuesday’s defeat was a setback for Sholing, Diaper insisted: “I always said there wasn’t a chance in hell we’d go unbeaten.
“What with injuries, suspensions and other teams playing well, you’re bound to lose one game – at least. Between now and the end of the season we may lose four or five.
“We have no divine right to win every game and maybe losing at Blackfield will be the monkey off our back. “Everyone’s wanted to beat us from the word ‘go’ and this might free us up a bit.”