Wednesday 22nd June 2005

Jenkins persuades Wood to stay


CRAY WANDERERS boss Ian Jenkins has persuaded striker Jamie Wood to stay at the club, writes Stephen McCartney.

Jenkins' had showdown talks with the small striker last night but is delighted he has tied him down to next season with Nationwide Conference South neighbours, Welling United chasing his signature.

But it is the Wing's attention that has upset Jenkins.

"Welling have approached him during the close season," he EXCLUSIVELY told www.kentishfootball.co.uk today.

"I am pleased he is staying as he is a good player.

"I am not pleased how other club's approach our players.

"Managers can't be bothered to ring other managers up and it bugs me.

"I am not happy that managers talk to my players - they should come to me first.

"I know they are not on contact but it's courtesy to talk to me first."

33-year-old striker, Phil Collins, however, who joined the Wands for the third time last season, has decided to take time out due to family and work commitments - but the former Margate and Welling United striker will sign on for Cray and will turn out for the club in emergencies.

"Phil looks like he may hang up his boots and take time out of football due to family and work commitments," Jenkins revealed.

"I love Phil, he is great in the dressing room, a good mate of mine, but he will keep training to keep ticking over and will be signed on for the new season."

Jenkins who signed former VCD Athletic striker, John Main, from Perth Panthers earlier in the summer, will cast an eye on midfielder Nick Barnes.

"I haven't seen him play, but I've heard good things about him," Jenkins said of the midfielder who played for Tonbridge Angels last season.

With promotion the aim for next season, Cray's forwards will be coached by their new signing, former Welling United hit-man, Gary Abbott.

"As in names go, it's a big signing," admitted Jenkins.  "He is well known in non-league but saying that it is a big signing but we've had others that have made a big impact on the team."

Abbott, who was player/assistant manager at Ryman Premier League side Braintree Town last season, looks set to replace Collins up front.

"Obviously they're all competing to start the season.  If he's fit enough and gets through pre-season allright he will start the season.

"He will coach the forwards, which is good for us.

"This was a joint idea from me and Joe (Francis) - it takes the weight of our shoulders.

"We are looking to get promoted this year and we need to sign the best players."

Abbott, told the www.nonleaguedaily.com website: "I had three or four serious offers regarding next season but Cray Wanderers impressed me immensely and I am very happy to confirm that after meeting up with Ian Jenkins, I was happy to sign for them."

Cray's backline last season of David Gray, Ian Rawlings, Tony Russell and Danny Bower have all been retained with some trialists hoping to join them.

VCD Athletic's dead-ball specialist Danny Penny being one of them.

"He's a good lad, if he can get himself fit, I'm trying to get him signed on," said the long serving Jenkins.

However, Jenkins faces a fight to secure the services of former Cray player, Joe Vines.

Vines, who played for Bromley before moving to Lewes (via Crawley Town), could be going to Kent League side Beckenham Town if he joins his former Lewes team-mates, Gavin Rose, Junior Kadi and Peter Adeniyi at Eden Park Avenue.

But Jenkins added: "I can't see Joe step down that far.  

"I will be talking to him in the next couple of weeks and come to some sort of agreement.  

"Its 50/50 he's talking to us and other clubs as well."

Meanwhile, we can reveal Cray are currently in negotiations with AFC Wimbledon about arranging a pre-season friendly at Hayes Lane a week before the start of the season.

Cray sent AFC Wimbledon crashing back down to earth last December, by ending their record breaking 78 match unbeaten run in league football.

A crowd of 1082 - Cray's highest at Hayes Lane - saw Jenkins' side battle hard to their three points.

Goals from former Dover Athletic man James Millar, after only 112 seconds and a fine solo run from Sam Wood after 70 minutes sent the small but proud Cray contingent in the crowd into ecstasy.

The pre-season friendly in two months time will surely help their coffers.