08:00PM, Wednesday 25 May 2022
Lee Devonshire has revealed he is in a ‘much better place’ this summer with regards to enhancing and rebuilding Maidenhead United’s squad ahead of the new National League season.
With various COVID restrictions lifted or eased, the chief scout has been able to attend a greater amount of football matches and identify players which could bolster the Magpies’ squad.
Last week, George Wells and Manny Parry announced their exits from York Road while Josh Smile seemingly bid farewell on Wednesday, and more players could be on their way out including one notable departure, according to Lee.
On a more positive note for fans, the club have wrapped up some signings already, potentially to replace those who have left, and they will be unveiled at the right time.
“I feel I am in a much better place this summer. Obviously coming out of COVID, I have been able to get into a lot more games, watch a lot more players, and I feel that little bit more prepared,” said Lee.
“This time last year, we brought in a lot of players due to familiarity or players that we saw play before the pandemic. This year, as I said, we are a lot better off.
“We’ve got a few bits of business done already and I am sure they will be announced in due course. There will probably be half a dozen boys moving on too.
“Luckily, there is only one leaving that we didn’t want to. The rest are mutual decisions.
“Some choose to seek better contracts, be closer to home, have full-time training, all things like that. You often have to accept those requests or decisions.
“As I said, there is just one player that we didn’t want to lose.”
Supporters can speculate who the departing player in question is, but Lee has ruled out Josh Kelly.
The 23-year-old proved to be a prolific asset for the Magpies last season with 17 league goals in 40 appearances and he will certainly be the target for many other clubs this summer.
“Josh Kelly, no, he is not the player I’m talking about leaving. He’s under contract for another year,” said Lee.
“I think we will officially announce our retained list later this week. We’re holding back at the moment because there are still one or two players we are making decisions on and having final discussions with.
“We have also held back naming the new players too because we need to deal with our existing squad first. We can’t talk about what is happening externally until we sort out our own base.
“I’m excited about the three boys we have brought in so far. A couple of them are defenders so you could argue that there’s not a lot to get excited about, but I think they will add great competition, and I’m convinced they can do well at this level.
“The attacking player we have brought in fits the Josh Coley mould, so he’ll excite fans.”
On the Magpies fans’ speculations, Lee added: “I don’t really pay too much attention to them on social media.
“The way I view it, in football, we are all entitled to our own opinion. Any fan can have an opinion on our business or decisions but we do what we feel is right.
“Ultimately, we are the ones whose jobs are on the line if we get it wrong.
“I saw a fan’s tweet last year asking for us to sign Nathan Ashmore and this year we managed to make that happen for a short while.
“I also saw George and Manny say goodbye last week, who are two that are moving on, but apart from that, I tend to keep an eye on other clubs more than anything else.”
All lines are currently blocked between Reading and London Paddington stations due to a person being hit by a train.