The Evo-Stik League Northern Premier
Published 6th June 2012
.....persuaded striker Sam Mullarkey to return, having previously left the Daniels to play under him at Blue Square Bet North side Corby Town last season.
Mullarkey originally signed for Stamford in July last season, netting nine times in twenty-two appearances before making the move to Steel Park in October 2011.
A product of Nottingham Forest's Academy, he joined Lincoln United after being released and has gone to represent Grantham Town, Lincoln City and United for a second spell, prior to his first stint with Stamford.
"I am delighted Sam has agreed to join Stamford again," commented Drury on the 24-year-old's return to the Premier Kitchens Arena.
"I believe that Sam is too good for this standard of football, which was why I signed him for Corby. Unfortunately injury halted his progress in the second half of the season but I know he is hungry to get back to that level, just like other players who have agreed to play for us.
“That hunger will be a big factor in our progress in the future. There are boys who will be pulling on a Stamford shirt next season who be keen to prove they are capable of playing at a higher level.
"Sam has a good track record of scoring goals at this level, as supporters will know only too well from his time here and at Grantham. He is direct and exciting and defenders don't like it when he runs at them, he is a constant threat.
"More significantly though, he has a good understanding with Gary King and it is a front pairing I am looking forward to working with. I never got the chance to start them both together at Corby but it is a partnership that scores goals, and that wins matches.
“If I can bring in the other attacking players I am hoping too, then we'll have plenty of competition to keep everyone on their toes.”
Meanwhile, with the initial focus on adding some experience to the Daniels squad, Drury has now switched his attention to introducing some youthful enthusiasm into the mix – and all three signings are making a welcome return to Stamford.
Jake Gibson and Jake Walton, who both left the club during the course of last season, are back, as is Seth Burkett, who returns after a spell playing in Brazil and Loughborough University.
Gibson is a former Lincoln City trainee who is back with the Daniels having finished last season at Lincoln United and his return has been greeted with excitement by the new boss.
“Jake is full of high energy levels,” Drury commented. “He will certainly work his socks off and is a great box-to-box man.
“I think the fans will be excited by what he can bring to the club.”
Drury added: “Jake Walton spent a lot of time training with me at Corby whilst playing for the successful Huntingdon College Football Development Centre last season. He is a player that I like and I am looking forward to seeing more of him next season.
“He is comfortable on the wing, as well as full-back, and he'll give us some versatility down the right hand side.
“He has represented England at college youth level and is very committed and works very hard.”
Burkett returns to Stamford after a spell playing for Sorriso EC in the fifth division of Brazilian football.
Burkett has represented England at Futsal and is another promising youngster who will be keen to make his mark next year.
On the return of the 21-year-old Drury said: “Seth went to Brazil to ply his trade and from that has gained some real experience. He is a good ball player and an exciting one to watch.
“I’m trying to build a great group of players that are going to gel so there will be a few more signings in the next few weeks.
“We have some fantastic young players coming through and these boys have caught my eye here in the past. They all have a very bright future.
“All of the lads will be involved in and around the squad and will certainly play a part in our season.”
A fourth promising youngster to join the Daniels is former Corby Town under-19s skipper Joe Hopewell.
Last year the Steelmen's youth side progressed as far as the third round of the FA Youth Cup where it needed Manchester City to come from behind to end their interest in the competition.
Highly-rated left-back Hopewell led them to their record breaking achievement on the field and his performances were rewarded by an invitation from Drury to train with the first-team, where he made a suitable impression.
“Joe captained the youth side during my time a Corby and at only 19 he has a great future ahead of him,” Drury observed.
“He has the ability to push further on at a higher level and I am delighted he has agreed to follow me to Stamford.
“Along with the two Jakes - Gibson and Walton - and Seth Burkett, Joe has also shown great desire and has a fantastic attitude to the game.
“I won’t be looking at any of them as youngsters, they all have the ability to play at this level and I see them as adults capable of holding down a first-team shirt.”