BRANTHAM Athletic boss Paul Abrahams believes new signing Ray Turner will be a key weapon in his club’s quest for Ryman League football.
The ex-FC Clacton manager has arrived as player-coach and was set to train with his new team-mates for the first time last night.
He is cup tied for Saturday’s rearranged FA Vase fourth-round replay at East Preston – the winners of which entertain Leicester side St Andrews.
But Abrahams is confident Turner can be a key man in Brantham’s Thurlow Nunn League campaign.
“Ray can offer us so much, both on the pitch and off it,” said the former Colchester United hero.
“We’ve got a reasonably young squad and it’s important to have senior figures around who can be a stabilizing influence and lead by example.
“Ray definitely fits that mould. He’s worked hard on his fitness, is very enthusiastic, has an eye for goal and he’s a good talker.
“He’s very strong both physically and mentally.
“He’s also very keen to progress his coaching career and we’re more than happy for him to join us and gain more experience at Brantham.
“It’s a real positive and having him on the pitch will be an extension of the management team.
“Overall, it’s an ideal signing.”
Although Turner is cup tied for the Vase, he will play in the league and is also eligible for Brantham’s Red Insure Cup quarter-final at AFC Sudbury Reserves next Wednesday.
He was an unused substitute in Clacton’s only match in the competition, which they lost at Felixstowe & Walton.
Meanwhile, Abrahams says there is no chance of his side jumping the gun and dwelling on potential Vase fifth-round opponents St Andrews.
First they have to get past Sussex County League leaders East Preston.
The sides had been due to meet in their fourth-round tie last weekend. But the match was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.
“It’s a home draw, which is pleasing and the first since I’ve been manager here, but it will be a very tough game,” said Abrahams.
“St Andrews must be a strong side as they put out AFC Rushden and Diamonds on Saturday (in front of 948 spectators).
“Having said that, we’re not really thinking about it yet because we know we’ve got to get past East Preston first.
“Just winning that game will be a huge achievement.”
The fifth-round matches are scheduled for February 15, with the winners of each tie set to receive £2,500.