Ilkeston Town have signed experienced striker Richard Brodie as they prepare for a key top-of-the-table clash this weekend.
Brodie, 31, has extensive experience at the highest level of non-league football as well as having played in League Two, and having appeared in a friendly game at Bilborough Town last Saturday, he signed for the Robins soon afterwards.
And although his fitness levels are such that it may take time for him to get up to speed, Robins boss Lee Fowler, a former team-mate of Brodie, is confident he will provide excellent competition for places.
He said: “I played with Richard at Fleetwood and we won the Conference Premier title together in 2012 so he’s someone I know well.
“He’s a great character and although he’s had quite a lot of clubs, he has a proven pedigree and will cause mayhem amongst defences at this level. He isn’t very fit at the moment so we’ll have to introduce him gradually, but while the shirt belongs to Alex Marshall at the moment, it will be healthy competition and keep Alex on his toes because he knows if he doesn’t perform then there is a very good player ready to take his place.”
Brodie has played over 150 games in the National League’s top division for the likes of Fleetwood Town, Crawley Town, Southport and Aldershot. He was part of the Crawley side that faced Manchester United in the FA Cup fifth round in 2011 and hit the crossbar in a 0-0 draw at Old Trafford.
He scored five goals in a 23-game loan spell with Morecambe in League Two and also featured heavily in the National League North. He was most recently at Evo-Stik Division One side Ramsbottom United.
Fowler, meanwhile, is now preparing his side for what could be a crucial match in the Midland Football League title race as Ilkeston host Sporting Khalsa at the New Manor Ground on Saturday.
Khalsa lie fourth in the table with two games in hand on the Robins and eight points behind them, meaning an away win would heavily improve their chances of being able to overtake Fowler’s men.
But the Ilkeston boss says that while it is a big game, the pressure is far more on the visitors than his own players.
He said: “I’m trying to build down the game amongst our players this week as it’s important we acknowledge that this is very much a game Khalsa have to win and losing it would do them far more damage than it would ourselves.
“If we are at our best, we’ll win the game, I’m sure of that. I know Khalsa’s strengths and weaknesses having seen them play a couple of times recently and we’ll set up accordingly.
“I’ve been implementing a much more patient way of playing rather than us just trying to go for the jugular every time we get the ball and it’s working well, and the players have been really impressing me with their attitude.
“A draw or a win would be very positive for us. I think it’s pretty much a four horse race for the title now between ourselves, Walsall Wood, Westfields and probably Coventry Sphinx.”