WHITLEY Warriors coach Garry Dowd has added another four players to his squad as the build-up to the new season gathers momentum.
Former Billingham duo Phillip and Steve Prichard have agreed a switch to Hillheads and will turn out for the English National League champions next season, while Kevin Bucas and Mark Good will stay on Tyneside.
Dowd, who was a team-mate of the Prichard brothers during his time at Billingham, is delighted to add new experience to his defensive unit.
“Phil is a strong, stay at home defender who will act something like a sweeper in football,” said the coach.
“He won’t win us games or score too many goals, but he will bring a lot of stability to the defence and ensure we aren’t caught out too often at the back.
“His younger brother Steve is a totally different player.
“He likes to mix it about a bit, gets forward to join in the attack, but is an excellent defender and will prove to be a huge asset to the Warriors.”
Bucas returned to the Warriors last season, having previously played for the Newcastle Vipers in the Elite League, and will now also assist Dowd with some of the coaching.
“Kevin adds strength, physical presence and vast amount of experience to the Warriors back line,” commented the coach.
“He will be our senior defender this season and as such is an important player for us.
“I’m also delighted he will be able to assist with the coaching.”
He added: “Kevin Dean is also with us again this season as the assistant coach and I will be relying on the two of them to help me get the best out of the squad.”
Good missed the whole of last season after requiring an operation on his ankle similar to the one former England cricketer Andrew Flintoff went through, but he has now returned to training and he is another player Dowd is delighted to have back in the squad.
“It’s great to have Mark back in action,” continued the coach, “he is a great team player who works very hard for his line mates and he isn’t afraid to go into the corners to dig the puck out; an attribute that makes him vital to us.”
Meanwhile, a club official also confirmed that local fish and chip restaurant Pantrini’s has extended its sponsorship of the Warriors for another season.
“We are delighted to have the Pantrini’s name on our shirts again,” said manager John Crammond.
“They are a local company putting something back into the community and their sponsorship of the Warriors is vital as we look towards defending the titles we have won for the past two seasons.”
A spokesperson for Pantrini’s said: “We are happy to be back on board for another season and proud to be associated with the double winning Whitley Warriors once again.”
With 19 players now on his roster for the 2011-12 campaign, Dowd is still looking for around five more signings to complete his squad and is in talks with several that would be new to the club.