STRATFORD Town have snapped up Emmitt Delfouneso and James Hancocks to help ease the loss of fellow defender Kieren Westwood.
Delfouneso, at home in central defence or midfield, has returned to Knights Lane after spells at Highgate United and Rugby Town and Hancocks, an attacking full back, has joined on a month’s loan from Kidderminster Harriers.
Manager Carl Adams acted quickly after left back Westwood – Town’s double player of the year last season – moved to Stourbridge.
Both Delfouneso and Hancocks come into contention for the trip to Dunstable Town on Saturday.
Hancocks said: “I’m happy to have signed and buzzing to get a run of games under my belt and help the team get back to winning ways.”
Westwood, who had joined Stratford at the start of last season from Leamington and become a firm favourite, said he departed with mixed emotions.
“I want to say a huge thank you to the staff, players and fans for everything they have done during my time at the club,” he said. “I am truly sad to be leaving.”
Adams had hoped Westwood would remain with Stratford for the rest of the season but Stourbridge, pushing for promotion from the Evo-Stik Northern Premier, persuaded him to join.
It will be a blow for Town to see one of their most consistent players exit, especially as they look to regain their form after Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat to Cirencester Town.
Manager Adams admitted Town, with just one league win in 2017, are being sucked into a relegation battle.
Fellow strugglers Cirencester, who had failed to win in the previous 11 matches, snaffled the points on Saturday when Alan Griffin netted a 78th-minute winner after Stratford keeper Niall Cooper had parried a Matt Liddiard strike.
It was a game of few clearcut chances and it left Adams again bemoaning Stratford’s inconsistency and, nine points above the drop zone, he reckons they need at least another ten points to secure their Southern Premier Division status.
“After Saturday’s result we are probably looking over our shoulder but we mustn’t panic,” said Adams.
“We probably need ten more points to be safe at the end of the season and we will have to grind them out in our remaining games.
“Our problem is our lack of consistency. If we’d played on Saturday like we did at Weymouth or Chesham we would probably have won.
“But, as I’ve said before, we are a young team that is still developing and we need to learn how to find the same level of form every game.”
After the trip to Dunstable, Town head to Biggleswade Town on Tuesday night.