Maidenhead United complete double swoop
By Rob Stevens • Published 14 Jun 2012 17:07 0 Comments
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Maidenhead United boss Johnson Hippolyte
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MAIDENHEAD United FC completed a double summer swoop this week just days after a reprieve which saved their Conference South status.
The Magpies should have been relegated into Southern League football but were let off by the Football Association following financial troubles at both Darlington and Kettering Town.
United boss Johnson Hippolyte told the Observer: "We are over the moon to have the reprieve.
"We were gutted to be relegated and are determined to do what we can to make up for it."
And the Maidenhead supremo was boosted by the commitment of the current squad, adding: "To be fair to them most of the players knew that they were to blame as much as I was and committed themselves to the club to put that right."
Hippolyte has now stepped up preparations for the new campaign by securing the services of David Pratt and Derek Duncan.
Pratt, 24, joins the Magpies from Basingstoke Town in search of regular first team football.
The hard working centre forward was voted manager's and supporter's player of the year three season's ago but recently lost his place in the side at The Camrose.
Basingstoke manager Jason Bristow said: "We've had several discussions and David is gutted and sad to be leaving but feels that he needs to move on in order to get more games.
"David has expressed his appreciation to the club but with chances possibly limited he needs to let his head rule and not his heart and seek first team football elsewhere."
Bristow continued: "I would like to say it has been very difficult to let David go, he has scored some excellent and important goals for the club, and has never given anything less than 100%,
"But the excellent form of Delano Sam-York and Tim Sills towards the end of the season meant opportunities were limited.
"David is a player that deserves to be in a starting XI every week and I wish him nothing but success next season and beyond.
"He has not only been a colleague over the last few years but a real friend and that will continue."
Whilst playing for Chippenham Town in 2008 Pratt was thought to have set a new world record after being sent off after only three seconds of the 2-1 loss against Bashley.
Versatile defender Duncan, however, arrives at York Road having already won the Conference South with Woking last season and Ebbsfleet United in 2011.
Hippolyte said: "Derek's been in the league for three or four seasons now. He brings a lot of energy, a bit of strength and gives us options in defence."
Magpies, however, have been dealt a blow after losing the services of influential forward Manny Williams who has decided to leave York Road to play elsewhere.
Maidenhead United return to pre-season training on July 7 and have arranged friendlies at York Road against League One side Brentford and AFC Wimbledon of League Two.
The Magpies will also face local clubs Holyport, Thatcham Town and Burnham in their build up to the 2012/13 season.