Forest Green boss Dave Hockaday told he will be given funds in January

First published in Gloucestershire Sport by

FOREST Green boss David Hockaday has been given assurances that he will be able to strengthen his promotion chasing squad in the January transfer window.

Chairman Dale Vince confirmed a war chest will be made available if the former Watford and Southampton coach decides to delve into the transfer market.

Vince said: “It’s fair to say that we’re always looking ahead, planning for next season now, and have our eye on a few players. Maybe January will bring something. What we won’t do is get to the end of this season and have gaps in the squad.”

Hockaday concurred with his chairman and said: “As a club we’re always looking to improve our squad and if something becomes available in January then we will look at it.”

Rovers have tied down five members of the squad to lengthy contracts and Hockaday insisted mutual trust helped seal the deals as he persuaded former Watford midfielder Al Bangura, defenders Chris Stokes, Aarran Racine, Ed Asafu-Adjaye and goalkeeper Matt Bulman to remain at the New Lawn until June 2014.

He said: “We’re delighted to announce that five of our current players have extended their contracts with us.

“This is part of our grand design – we want to build and evolve into a strong club.

“We bring in young players and if they do well, we will extend their contracts.

“The players have shown trust in us and we in turn have shown trust in them.”

Meanwhile, England C defender and Forest Green captain Eddie Oshodi and maverick forward James Norwood are out of contract at the end of the season and have so far opted not to put pen to paper.

Hockaday added: “I respect people because everyone has a different reason for not signing.

“I don’t want to go on about it but they’ve said no, so that’s fine. We’ve got the five and we’ll address things as and when we feel we need to address them.

“At the moment we’re really happy with our squad. Everyone’s committed.”

Rovers stretched their unbeaten run to five league matches thanks to a late Stokes strike in the 86th-minute which secured a point against Macclesfield at the New Lawn on Saturday.

Hockaday’s side are now fourth in the Blue Square Bet Premier table, four points off the top with a game in hand on new leaders Newport County.

“We certainly deserved at least a draw and I’m just delighted that we kept on going,” said Hockaday.

“We changed formation to 3-4-3 at the end, and after Stokesey put it in we were pushing for a winner.”

Hockaday was frustrated by Rovers’ first half showing but lavished praise on his side for their second half display.

He said: “I was disappointed with our lack of intensity in the first half but delighted with the spirit we showed in the second.”

Hockaday singled out midfielder Bangura and defender Racine.

He said: “The thing with Al is he just plays it so simply – he doesn’t complicate his game.

“He just wins it and gives it. I say just, but the hardest thing football is to play it simply and he does that very well.

“We’ve got the best defence in the Blue Square Premier and Aarran was outstanding and kept the best striker in the BSP, Matthew Barnes-Homer, quiet.”

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