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New-look Royals flushed with capture of Hodson; WESTERN DIVISION.

The pedigree is unquestionable but it was the burning desire to play which has convinced Sutton Town to add Simeon Hodson to their squad for the new season.

The much-travelled 34-year-old's cv features the top teams in non-League, having led Kidderminster Harriers to the Conference title in 1994, as well as playing for Rushden & Diamonds, Telford United and Altrincham.

But it was Alty's relegation from the Conference - and resulting lengthy journeys throughout the Unibond Premier - which meant Tamworth-based Hodson looked for a club closer to home.

The right-back has featured in warm-up games with Rugby United as well as Sutton, but Royals boss Chris Keogh was delighted to get his signature ahead of their Dr Martens Western rivals.

'His pedigree says everything about Simeon. You can see his quality when he plays but he is still hungry to do well,' said Keogh. 'He was keen to come to Sutton and that was important.

'We're very much a new team and Simeon has got a lot of experience. You can't beat that.'

Hodson, who also played more than 200 League games including a century with West Bromwich Albion, will join centre-back Willie Batchelor as the wise old heads in a predominately youthful side.

Injury worries mean Keogh will also lace up his boots for today's friendly at Knowle. Adam Whitehouse (knee), Mark Beddowes (groin) and Stewart Randall (thigh) will not be risked.

George Rooney admits his rebuilding of Bromsgrove Rovers' squad will be a race against time.

Having taken over as manager just a month ago, the Scouser has needed all his experience and contacts gained through spells in charge of Worcester City, Nuneaton Borough and Bath City to prepare the Greens for the new season.

Like a ripple turning into a tidal wave, Rooney's new players are gradually being confirmed but he pointed out it won't be until the eve of the new campaign that the squad will be complete.

The influx has continued with central midfielder and left-back Jamie McWilliams, while Rooney is optimistic he can persuade Ian Cooksey - brother of Rovers' Neil - plus Rob Powell to agree to switch from Racing Club Warwick and Alvechurch respectively.

Former Kidderminster Harriers duo Matt Beard and Dean Tilley are also part of the training squad while Beard's younger brother Joe is set to be given his chance.

Rooney expects more new faces to be confirmed in the next week but stressed: 'It's been very much a game of patience.

'I'm not competitive when it comes to wages so I'm having to wait and see what happens elsewhere.
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Title Annotation:Football
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Aug 5, 2000
Words:426
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