City to raid Christchurch for another striker?

First published in Non League Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Non-league football reporter

NEW Winchester City boss Graham Kemp is planning to re-unite the strike duo that, between them, rattled in more than 50 Sydenhams Wessex goals for Christchurch last term.

Having already brought Ben Osborne to the Denplan City Ground from his old Priory charges, Kemp has lodged notice of approach for his free-scoring side-kick Russell Cook.

When Michael Cuffie was unveiled as Kemp’s Christchurch successor in May, he confidently predicted that “not one” of his squad would follow their former boss to Winchester.

But Osborne, Karl Yelland and Dan Thompson already have – along with ex-Priory duo Scott Sanderson and Tom Price – and it seems that Cook will be the next to join Kemp at Abbotts Barton.

“Russell re-signed quite early on for Christchurch, but he expected a few more of the boys to stay there,” said Kemp.

“He phoned me to say he would like to come across to Winchester and we’ve put seven days’ notice in for him.

“I rate Russell highly, I really do. He and Ben Osborne complement each other well.

“They were neck and neck for goals at Christchurch last year.”

Winchester, meanwhile, have completed a second batch of summer signings.

Experienced midfielder Liam Green, a member of City’s 2004 FA Vase-winning squad, is on board along with Liam Hibberd and Lewis Robinson, who both started out at Eastleigh.

Towering midfielder/defender Jamie Austen, who skippered AFC Totton to the 2007 Vase final, is back for a second City stint having more recently played for Sholing and Follands Sports (formerly GE Hamble).

Another ex-Eastleigh youngster, striker Joe Maxwell, has joined from Bashley and left-back John Borg – previously with Alresford Town – is ready to return to football after a year concentrating on his law studies.

City have re-signed goalkeeper George Passingham from last season and are ready to hand a chance to local prospects Lewis Alderman and Nick Oliver, who have been with Andover New Street and Downton and were spotted by director of football Dave Malone playing in a Sunday cup final.

Winchester kick off their pre-season campaign next week with trips to US Portsmouth (Wednesday) and Stockbridge (Friday).

On Sunday, July 14, they host a Family Fun Day, featuring a match between Kemp’s new-look Winchester squad and City’s 2004 FA Vase heroes (3.15pm kick-off).

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