Town manager signals intent with several new signings

Barnstaple Town have issued a sign of intent by bringing in a plethora of new faces for the 2013-14 season.

Manager Tom Bulley is aiming to get the newly-relegated club back into the Toolstation Western League Premier as soon as possible having inherited a club which has endured a difficult past few seasons.

"Coming off the back of the last two or three seasons, the club hasn't been in the best of hands I would say," he said. "Certainly we're looking to stabilise the club-that's got to be the priority- but at the same time, with the signings we've made we're going to give the league a good go and have a good shot at it this season.

"Obviously the club needs a bit of stability behind it first, but certainly for the long term we don't want to be hanging around."

Bulley had already introduced five new signings to the first team set-up, with Aaron Harper-Penman, Billy Tucker, Jack Jenkins, Ryan Draper & Sam Stephens all joining Barum this summer.

And today (Tuesday), Bulley anounced the signings of striker Ryan Turner and midfielder Lee Francis from Ilfracombe.

"The likes of Aaron coming from Bideford, that's a great signing for us," said Bulley. "Jack Jenkins from Boca's one that I've seen and wanted for a while. Ryan Draper's experienced and we've also got young Billy Tucker, who's a great signing with great ability.

"I'm looking forward to working with them, and at the same time they're all local-based players which is what we want at the club. I think good team morale goes a long way."

Harper-Penman cited that team spirit as one of the main reasons for moving to the club.

"We came for each other really," he said. "After seeing Barnstaple get relegated last year we thought we'd try to get them back where they belong.

"It will be tough but I think we can give it a good go next season, and having all these local lads will give you the team spirit."

Draper said: "Aaron and I have travelled away but it's your local club and it was always the plan to come back here eventually, and with the new signings I saw no reason not to."

Despite the flurry of new additions, Bulley is still looking to add to his squad.

"We've brought in a lot of young lads and some good experience as well, and that's one of the things we lacked last season," he said.

"The chairman's been great with me and the people behind the scenes have worked endlessly and things are getting a lot better.

"I've turned down a great offer from a higher club during the off season, but with what's going on with the club now and the plans we have, I've decided to stay on. The club's only going to be going in one direction now.

"It's my local club at the end of the day as well and after last season I feel I have something to prove.

"I would love to say 'we're going to win the league, happy days' but that's not the way football is. It'll be a tough league but I'm excited about the season coming up, we'll give it our best shot."

Barum kick off their pre-season with a home game on July 13 against Tavistock.