Pic: Andy Nunn
BRADFORD PARK AVENUE boss Mark Bower believes he has signed the best goalkeeper in Non-League in Steven Drench.
Bower knew he would have to bring in a new stopper after Jon Wornsop departed at the end of last season and in Drench, he’s got a man with two National League North promotions under his belt.
Drench, 31, is well known to Bower having featured for the Avenue boss during their time together at Guiseley.
The keeper made 242 league appearances for the Lions in a six-year spell, helping them to National League North play-off glory in 2014-15.
Drench left Nethermoor after the club’s first season in Non-League’s top tier, signing for FC Halifax Town last summer following their relegation.
Last season ended in another play-off winners’ medal with Drench making 21 appearances as the Shaymen earned an instant return to Step 1.
The former Morecambe keeper will reunite with Bower after leaving The Shay and his new boss reckons he couldn’t have signed anybody better.
“I’m very pleased to get Drenchy because there were quite a few clubs in for him,” Bower told the Telegraph & Argus.
“Drenchy was the obvious target because there are not many better keepers at this level. In fact, I would say that he has got to be the best keeper in Non-League football anywhere.
“That’s why clubs were chasing him and, although we haven’t got one of the biggest budgets, he has agreed join us here at Bradford, and that’s great news.
“Having worked at Blackburn in the past, Drenchy will also take up a coaching role within our academy to help the young goalkeepers at the club.”
Drench became the third summer signing for Bower following the additions of midfielder Nicky Clee and striker Adam Boyes. He has also since added defender Luca Havern.
Defender Ryan Toulson, meanwhile, will join the coaching staff at the Horsfall Stadium, combining it with his playing duties.
The 31-year-old full-back joined Avenue last summer and captained the club throughout last season.
“I feel Tully has the right personality to compliment myself and Danny (Boshell) as a management team,” Bower added.
“As someone who I have worked with before, I know he will be a real asset to us.”