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Story posted: Tuesday, 31st May 2005

Holmes signs
David Holmes

David Holmes

David Holmes has become Gresley Rovers first new signing of the close season.
The 32-year-old Derby based Holmes spent last season at Alfreton Town and had a brief spell on loan with Rovers around Christmas time. He completed the season at Ilkeston Town after being transferred during the latter stages of the campaign. Manager Gary Norton was somewhat surprised but understandably delighted with his new signing and commented: "We are very, very pleased to have signed a player of David's proven quality and experience."

He added: "He is very much looking forward to a fresh challenge this season after a disappointing season for him personally last time round. He played four games for us on loan last year and I feel that because he hadn't been playing regularly at Alfreton we didn't get the chance to see the best of him, however, with the benefit of a good hard pre season behind him and the incentive of a fresh challenge with us we are convinced that David will prove to be a great signing and an integral part of our plans for next year. The added bonus is that he can pretty much play anywhere on the park so we are not only getting a quality player with great experience at the club but also a versatile one which when operating with a small squad is vital. During our meeting he said he's hungry to do well for us and wants to get back to enjoying his football and thinks he can do that at Gresley. He is really looking forward to the challenge back at the club that holds special place in his heart and cant wait for the preseason to start."

On the rest of the squad Norton said: "We are hopeful of retaining most of our key players from last year's campaign for the new season. Some are talking to other clubs and we will have to wait for the outcome of those discussions before knowing where we stand. It's difficult because as a manager you are in limbo and need a backup plan in case players you want to stay end up moving on. Having said that I will only wait so long for players to commit to next season. If we wait to long then any potential replacements of similar quality are going to get fixed up with clubs and we will end up missing out. Others members of the squad have said they will definitely be here next season and we are obviously in various stages of discussions with other players we would like to bring in so things are taking shape gradually."

The question on every Gresley supporter's lips concerns the future of last season's top scorer Aaron O'Conner and midfielder Jamie Barrett. On the subject Norton said: "We have made Aaron an offer to stay at the club and its one that he's been considering for the last few weeks. He knows he can go elsewhere to several other clubs at a higher level and earn much more than we are offering but he loves it at Gresley and is seriously considering his options as it is such a big decision for him. With regard to Jamie Barrett, Jamie knows exactly what the Club thinks of him and that we want him to stay, the Chairman has been speaking with him since the end of the season, and we will be looking to try and formalise matters this week.

"The reality is that we operate to a strict budget and contrary to a few rumours I've heard this Club is not in a position to throw silly money around at players. In fact some of the figure's I've seen quoted are quite ridiculous and way off the mark."

In other news Jamie Hood will miss the start of the new season after surgery on his troublesome knee revealed the problem somewhat worse than expected. Said Norton: "I spoke to Jamie last week and he was a bit down about things as you would expect. The surgeon found some floating bone in the knee joint, which explained the problems Jamie was having during last season. Early indications are that at best his recovery could be around 4-5 months taking us well into the start of next season. He visits the surgeon again in six weeks after which we will know more."

Andy Simpson has resumed training again after his season was ended early through injury. Simpson picked up a knee injury in early March and failed to recover in time for the end of season run in after suffering a further setback during April. He is expected to see a specialist to get the all clear on the injury to give him peace of mind going into pre-season training in July.
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  Team P GD Pts
12 Spalding United 40 -5 50
13 Peterborough Sports 40 -8 48
14 Loughborough Dynamo 41 -18 46
15 Belper Town 41 -42 45
16 Sheffield FC 40 -22 42
17 Kidsgrove Athletic 40 -19 41
18 Carlton Town 39 -7 40
19 Gresley 39 -32 40
20 Newcastle Town 41 -26 36
21 Romulus 41 -37 34
22 Market Drayton Town 39 -49 33

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