BRACKNELL Town will have a potent new strike force next season following the signings of Lee Barney and Nathan Minhas, writes Dave Wright.

"They are two very exciting players with a lot of potential and I am delighted to have signed them," said manager Sam Lock.

The new Robins boss has also brought in centre-back Dan Bayliss from Basingstoke Town and midfielder Dan Brown from Beaconsfield, and is hoping to add another three or four players to his squad.

Barney scored 24 goals for Isthmian South Central Division champions Hayes & Yeading, while Minhas bagged 30 goals in 32 Hellenic League games for Ascot United before joining Billericay, who later loaned him out to Kingstonian.

Whilst he made eight appearances for Isthmian Premier Division side Kingstonian, he was hardly used by National South side Billericay after giving him a two-year contract.

"Nathan wants to be playing regularly and that's why he is happy to drop down a level," commented Lock, who has known Minhas since their days at Maidenhead United.

"There were clubs, including Conference South, offering him money, but he wanted to come to Bracknell.

"He has certainly not come to us for money, but just wants to be playing regularly. He is a player of great potential who needs to be playing week in, week out to realise that. Coming here is a great opportunity for him."

Although Liam Ferdinand netted seven more goals than Barney last season, Lock rated the Hayes man as the best striker in the league.

He explained: "His record speaks for itself. He missed the first few months of the season yet still finished up as the second highest scorer in the division and (unlike Ferdinand) didn't take any penalties."

Lock is still looking for a third new striker. He has spoken to a few, but they are not prepared to compete with Barney and Minhas, so the manager has turned his attention to finding a player who wants to play for Bracknell and is fully prepared to fight for a place.

"Lee and Nathan are not players who will relax and rest on their laurels thinking their place in the team is secure, but it is always good to have competition for places," said Lock.

The manager is also delighted to have signed 6ft 4in defender Bayliss, a former England Schools international.

He commented: "He is another who will be good for us in terms of potential. He could have stayed at Basingstoke and I would think he has had other offers, but he was keen to join us as he knows we are a club which is on the up."

Lock says the experienced Brown is a big strong player whom he has known from their time together at Maidenhead, adding: "He is a great character to have in the dressing room."

In all, Lock plans to have a first-team squad of 18 to 20 players, but around five will be youngsters able to play for the club's Under 23 team.

Barney and Ferdinand were named as the two strikers in the South Central Division team of the season following a vote among managers, with Ferdinand the only Robins player named in the team.

Bracknell received their division's fair play award at the Isthmian League's annual meeting when it was announced the league will have new sponsor next season to replace Bostik.

Bracknell missed out at the Football In Bracknell awards despite receiving six nominations in four categories.

* ASCOT United completed a treble at the Football in Bracknell awards with Jamie Tompkins voted manager of the year, James Richardson the best young male player and David Bucktrout the top fan.

The player of the season was Dan Roberts, who doubles up with Windsor and Slough, while Woodley United's Charley Evans earned the senior female award and Kiah Owen (Binfield) the junior prize.

Bracknell Sunday League's James Knight was voted the best referee and long-serving league official Neville Batt became the first recipient of the Darrell Freeland Award for services to the local game.

Neil Graham, who provides photographic coverage to the Bracknell News series, was rewarded for his outstanding contribution to local football and his photo of Bracknell's Joe Gater won the best picture category.

Binfield's Bobby Ellis was named the volunteer of the year, while Reading City's Rivermoor Stadium was voted the best ground ahead of Bedfont Sports, Binfield and Windsor.

Elite Preparation Centre sponsored the awards event held at Binfield FC and hosted by Sky Sports presenter Tom White