GOATACRE are targeting three or four new signings before the start of the WEPL Premier Two campaign.

Having missed out on promotion in such agonising fashion last year, as Keynsham bowled the village side out for 94 in the final innings of the season to steal elevation in front of them, Goatacre are targeting another challenge towards the top of the table this time around.

With an eye to the longer-term future, successors need to be found for players such as veteran all-rounder Kevin Iles and former captain Craig Gibbens, and it is understood that Goatacre have already begun to narrow down their search.

Winsley’s Rob Murphy is believed to be a target, Sam Lawro was linked with a move from nearby Wootton Bassett before committing himself to his current club and Goatacre are also understood to be interested in recruiting a new opening bowler.

Gibbens would not give away the identities of any of the individuals his side are pursuing, but he did say the process is well under way.

“Player-wise, we’re hopeful,” he said. “We’re talking to one or two. We haven’t got anything committed yet, I can’t guarantee anything, but we’ve got three or four players that are of first-team quality that we’re looking to attract to the club.

“I’ve spoken to one or two personally so hopefully that will all be quite positive.

“One of the jobs we’re looking to do longer term is replace Kev because Kev has been the stalwart all-rounder for Goatacre for as long as we can all remember. That’s a huge task, finding that batting, bowling, all-round club legend. It’s a huge gap to fill. We’re looking at the possibilities of recruiting there.

“We’ll wait until we’ve signed on the dotted line until we go public.”

As has become tradition, however, Goatacre will not be investing in a luxury overseas signing.

“We’re still steering clear of that road,” said Gibbens. “The money we would spend on an overseas we’d rather keep in the club and use it to develop the youth set up rather than spend money on what essentially goes at the end of the season.

“It’s longer term progression we’re looking at rather than the short term of having an overseas, perhaps we go up and then if he doesn’t come back you’re in a worse position the following season.”