GOALKEEPER James Kendall has become Nairn County’s first signing of the summer.
The 26-year-old has agreed a three-year contract with the club and arrives from last season’s all-conquering North Juniors Division 1 (West) side, Nairn St Ninian.
The Guildford-born stopper joined up with the squad for training last weekend and signed in time to play in yesterday’s Gregg Main Testimonial Match against Ross County. He has now agreed terms to become Ronnie Sharp’s first capture of the close season and the boss is delighted to have brought him on board.
He said: “We knew we had to get another goalie in. We had James watched when he played for Nairn St Ninian in the Juniors and spoke to a few different people who had seen him play too. They all had good things to say about him, so we went and had a chat with him to see if he was interested.
“We knew there were three or four other Highland League clubs interested in him but James says he is delighted to sign here. It was great to get him on the park yesterday but there is still a lot of work to do between now and the start of the season not just for him but for everybody.
“He has played a big part in St Ninian’s success when the won the league and cup and he now feels he is ready to step up and test himself in the Highland League. He is a strong boy and a solid shot stopper. He is also confident with the ball at his feet and his kicking and distribution is very accurate. He has fitted in well with the rest of the squad and he has what it takes to be a good signing for us.”
Sharp believes his new addition gives him strong competition for places all over the park having been putting his squad through their paces in pre-season training for the last fortnight.
He said: “We want to have two players for each position and bringing James on board helps us achieve that. Everybody will just get better including James and Dylan Maclean and it will just be a battle between them to see who is number one with Fraser Wilkie out injured just now.
“I thought they were equally as good yesterday, although James was a lot more nervous playing in a game like that than Dylan would have been as he is used to the players in our team having played with them for the last couple of years. They both had a couple of good saves.”
The manager will use forthcoming friendlies against Inverness CT, New Elgin, Burghead Thistle and Stonehaven to finalise his selection for the opening game of the Highland League season against Formartine United on July 28th and may take in more new faces before that date.
“It is a different situation to when I first came to the club and we were just looking to pulling a team together,” he explained. “We finished last season strongly and have managed to retain all the players we want to keep a hold of. That means anyone we bring in must add something different to the squad and with the quality we now have at the club, it will take only very decent players to do that.”