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Robin Hood bolster their squad for top four push

Change of scene: Cox, the former Devonshire Cougars defender, left, is one of six new players to have joined Robin Hood as late transfers (Photograph by Nicola Muirhead/file)

Robin Hood’s ranks have been boosted by six signings in the late transfer window, though defender Darius Cox is carrying an injury and will miss the match against his former team, Devonshire Cougars, on Sunday.

Cox, along with Drewonde Bascome, his former Cougars team-mate, are the two most notable players so far who have switched clubs during the late transfer period which ends on November 30.

Cougars lost another four players in the late period, which turned out to be Hood’s gain as Kenneth DeSilva, a winger, and Andre Russell, the centre back, have also moved to the Friendship Trophy champions from Cougars.

Kyle Lightbourne, the Robin Hood coach, expects Cox to add some strength to his side’s defence when he recovers from injury.

“He’s about a month away from full fitness but is definitely a good pickup,” Lightbourne said.

“We played one of our new signings over the weekend, Kenneth DeSilva, who has been training since preseason and our squad is looking really healthy right now. We could do with another goalkeeper, but we always have Timmy [Figureido, goalkeeper coach] in case of an emergency.”

Hood are quickly establishing themselves as a team to reckon with in only their second season back in the top flight. After two appearances in finals this year, winning the Friendship Trophy in April and losing to PHC in the Dudley Eve Trophy final last week, Hood are enjoying a good start to the league campaign.

Sitting in second place, they are just a point behind leaders Dandy Town, who dropped their first points last weekend with a draw against Southampton Rangers.

Lightbourne thinks a top four finish is within Hood’s reach following the additions to what is usually a small squad. In Lightbourne’s first season as coach he said at times he only had 12 players at his disposal.

Also joining the club are Ereico Outerbridge, a full back from Dandy Town, and PHC pair Andre Ivo, a midfielder, and Kenan Robinson, another defender.

“These guys have been fringe players for their clubs,” Lightbourne said. “They’ve been training since preseason and the only thing they haven’t had is some game time.

“Now they’re available, and it will be a selection headache at times. We’ve got competition in every position except for goalkeeper.

“Guys who have started games can see that the competition is fierce, and certain guys have shown they really want to play.

“Competition is healthy, it reminds me when I was coming up [at PHC] under ‘Nibs’ Lewis.”

Hood handed Devonshire Colts their first loss of the season on Sunday, even without striker Antwan Russell, who was serving a ban after his red card in the Dudley Eve Trophy final. The Colts win came at a price though with Nathan Peskett, the combative midfielder, sent off midway through the first half.

The dismissal made the late transfers all the more important for Hood, as they look to build on last season’s success.

“I feel we are definitely a top four team,” Lightbourne said. “Teams know that when they play Robin Hood they are in for a game, we just have to keep our consistency up and not get ahead of ourselves.

“We’re halfway through the first half of the season and twelve points from five games is a good return.”

• Two First Division games tonight will see Somerset Eagles playing BAA in the opening game at Somerset Cricket Club at 7pm, before Paget take on Flanagan’s Onions at 9pm. The matches were postponed on October 25.

Eagles are fresh off an upset on the weekend when they thrashed previously unbeaten Young Men’s Social Club 6-1 on the weekend. BAA, with former Eagles player and coach Kenny Thompson at the helm, are unbeaten in seventeen games going back to last season. Onions are third in the league, Eagles fifth and BAA sixth.

<p>Late transfers</p>

Premier Division

Boulevard: Qwezi Savory (joining X-Roads). Dandy Town: Erico Outerbridge (Robin Hood); Shawn Stevens (X-Roads). Devonshire Cougars: Kenneth DeSilva, Darius Cox, Andre Russell (all Robin Hood); Dashun Cooper (X-Roads). North Village: Andre Ivo and Kenan Robinson (Robin Hood). Robin Hood: Freddy Mascarennas (X-Roads). Somerset Trojans: Samuel Johns and Geno Smith (Somerset Eagles)

First Division

BAA: Zion Smith Tucker (Hamilton Parish); Ramar Nial Simmons (Somerset Trojans); Jahmair Lewis-Trott (Boulevard). Ireland Rangers: Jelani Simmons (Somerset Eagles). St George’s Colts: Kyajee Wilson (St David’s); Euniko Trott (BAA). Wolves: Leo Ming (Boulevard)