Boreham Wood have made two further additions ahead of Saturday’s Conference South curtain-raiser against Farnborough, whilst Sam Cox has signed a contract for the 2014/15 season.
Young Arsenal forward Austin Lipman has returned to Meadow Park on a season-long loan deal, with former Watford midfielder Ryan Hope joining following his release by the Hornets.
Nineteen-year-old Lipman spent three months on loan with Wood last term and has previously represented England at Under-17 level. Midfielder Hope had been training with the Wood during pre-season after leaving Watford at the end of last season, having ended the season on loan at Wealdstone.
Cox, 23, made 38 appearances for Wood last season, helping the club finish 13th in the Conference South and lifting the Herts Senior Cup.
The former Barnet and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder had been out of contract since the end of last summer but remained at Meadow Park through pre-season before agreeing a new deal.
Commenting on the two new additions, Wood boss Ian Allinson said: “I believe we’ve now got a more balanced and tight knit squad, we’re a younger team than last year but still very experienced and this group of players in the main know this level.
“We finished last season well with a mean defensive unit and I think that will continue. We have a settled midfield that was supplemented with the signing of Scott Thomas and the return after injury of Ricky Shakes. We’ve then done decent business up top and with any luck with Lee Angol and Austin Lipman, we may have added not only good striking options but good attitudes and goals to our ranks and I believe we could genuinely surprise a few this season.”
Winger-cum-forward Angol, who signed on loan from the newly-promoted Hatters, will train twice a week with the Conference champions and twice a week with the Wood and Allinson says the arrangement suits all parties.
“I think it’s something that we decided if we were going to be bringing players in on loan, we’d like them to be training quite hard with their parent side because it keeps them in touch with their parent club and those training methods the pro clubs have got, it keeps them slightly ahead of where we are in our league,” explained Allinson.
“We’ve found out by keeping them there, it keeps them to a good fitness level. They still come and train with us on a Tuesday and Thursday if we haven’t got a game but they get that Monday and Friday with their parent club.
“We don’t want them to lose their match fitness, which is vitally important from where we are.”
The financial realities of Conference South football mean Allinson is operating within a strict budget and having called on several academy products during pre-season, says knowing he can do so is a bonus.
He said: “It’s great to see that if we did pick up any injuries or suspensions, they could all come in and step in and be part of what we’re trying to do.
“The squad at the moment, I'm really pleased with it. If we can bring one or two additions in to give us a nice 18 or 19, maybe that will be too big and one or two might not quite be what we want at the moment and we’ll keep an eye on them and if they do improve, some of the younger lads might need to go and get football.
“Some of the pro sides, we’re trying to bring some of their younger lads in, so some of our younger lads might need to go away to get some football under their belts at a lower level,” admitted Allinson.