Eagles strengthen with signings ahead of new season

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BEDFORD Town boss Nick Platnauer has confirmed several signings to his squad ahead of the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division opener with Leamington at the weekend, writes Mike Simmonds.

The boss said: “I’ve signed Mark Bell who was with Oxford City for three seasons.

“He’s a wideman who can play on either side.

“Nick Beasant will be signing forms with us too. He’s a six foot three target man and I’m hoping he’ll be fit for Saturday.

“I’ve signed a lad called Greg Ling, who was with Long Buckby last year.

“He’s been away on holiday, but kept himself in shape and can play wide left, central midfield or off a big man up top, so he’s quite versatile.

“We’ve also brought in Steve Kinniburgh who came through the ranks at Rangers which is no mean achievement.

“He’s been at Oxford United but had a bit of a lean time towards the end and is one who needs to get back playing and for me, find his love for the game again.

“I’m going to sign Eugene Libertucci who was at Histon too, while Michael Built (former Northampton midfielder, who was on loan at Bedford last year) has put pen to paper, but we’re waiting for international clearance for him.”

Seb Simpson is staying too and, although pleased with the squad he has in place, Platnauer is still looking to replace Drew Roberts, who moved to Arlesey in pre-season.

He continued: “I want to get a centre forward to get goals, but you can only go with what you’ve got.

“We’ve worked hard pre-season, had a few knock-backs but that’s what players do.”

Bedford begin their campaign in front of their home fans, against a strong Leamington side who finished just outside the play-offs last season, in seventh place.

In the week, the Eagles squad were put through their paces by former Luton Town and Sheffield United manager Kevin Blackwell as Platnauer said: “I had quite a lot of meetings, so I got Kevin, who’s a good friend of mine, to come in and take the session.

“The lads really appreciated it and he was impressed with their ability.

“He’s managed as near to the top level as you can get and it was a great gesture to help me out.

“The lads will see the demands that he puts on them are no different to what we put on them.

“With his experience, they will have gleaned a little bit from him and it was good for all parties.”

Eagles finished their pre-season campaign with an impressive 2-0 win at Blue Square North Bet side Hinckley United on Saturday thanks to goals from Jermaine Ivy and Gareth Price.

Platnauer added: The first half we were very good value for money and deservedly went in ahead.

“In the second half they came at us for 20 minutes but the second goal put us 2-0 up and knocked the stuffing out of them a bit.”