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Maidenhead United strengthen squad with three new signings ahead of new season

Shaun Donnellan

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Maidenhead United’s squad for the new campaign is starting to take shape following the acquisition this week of Manny Parry, Nathan  Blissett and Shaun Donnellan.

All three players have recent National League experience and it takes the number of summer signings to five following the recent additions of Josh Coley and Danilo Orsi-Dadomo.

Last week Magpies boss Alan Devonshire said he hoped to get the squad back in for pre-season training in early August, however, that date might be pushed back now that the league season is set to start on Saturday, October 3.

Parry has played for the Magpies once before, when former boss Johnson Hippolyte brought him to York Road for a brief loan spell from Stoke City in 2012/13. Since then he’s played for Braintree Town, Dover Athletic, Boreham Wood and was last season at Woking. His efforts for Dover in the 2017/18 season saw him named in the Non League Paper’s team of the season.

Donnellan, the nephew of former Reading and Slough Town player, Gary Donnellan, was also most recently at Woking, where the 23-year-old impressed with his industrious performances in midfield. Capped by the Republic of Ireland u19s and u21s he started his career with West Brom, before moving onto Worcester City, Dagenham & Redbridge, Walsall, Yeovil, Maidstone United and Woking, where he made more than 30 appearances and played in both of the side’s games against the Magpies.

Blissett is another player with illustrious footballing relatives. His uncle is the former Watford and England forward Luther Blissett. Nathan joined Kidderminster Harriers of the Conference Premier in 2012 and loan spells followed with Cambridge United and Hednesford Town before he joined promotion bound Bristol Rovers in 2015. While there he went on loan to Tranmere Rovers and Lincoln City before signing for Torquay United and then Plymouth Argyle. The 30-year-oldn has also played for Macclesfield Town and Solihull Moors in the National League.

Chief scout Lee Devonshire was delighted by the club’s business. “Manny is experienced at this level while also still young. A tall commanding centre back who is very good in the air and very strong in the tackle.”

“Shaun is a holding midfield player who can do a bit of everything. Good size, combative and gets round the pitch while also being very good on the ball and pops up with the odd goal also. Another at a great age with experience at this level and above.”

“Nathan is a tall powerful centre forward who we have admired for a number of years. He is a real threat and if we can get quality into the box I have no doubt Nathan will be on the scoresheet on a regular basis.”

“We are delighted to have the three boys with us and look forward to working with them.”

Steps are also being taken to retain the nucleus of last season’s squad with several key members of the first team signing up for another season.

Captain Alan Massey was one of the first to sign a new deal, while James Comley, Josh Smile, Remy Clerima, Bradley Keetch, Ryheem Sheckleford and Seth Twumasi have also signed new contracts in the club’s 150th year.

Keetch in particular will be looking to further establish himself in the first team after breaking through from the academy last season.

Several other players from last season’s squad remain in discussions with the club over new deals and further information on this will be released in due course.

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