AFTER one of the club’s worst seasons in recent history, Strathdale is poised to be a major challenger in the Bendigo Amateur Soccer League next year.
The Blues, who finished fifth this season with eight wins, four draws and four losses, have already signed several key players for 2013.
Among those is Eaglehawk young gun Shaun Allen, who makes the move to Beischer Park in hope for more opportunities at senior level.
Allen had previously been a regular fixture in the Hawks’ first division team, but struggled to break into the star-studded line-up this year.
Instead, he dominated in the second division, helping the Borough claim the title.
He scored three goals in 14 matches in the seconds and was regularly in the best players.
Strathdale coach Stuart Gough said the Blues would be able to give Allen the opportunity to shine at the top level.
“He’s a good young player and it was just hard for him to get a go in the side that Eaglehawk had,” he said.
“We think he’ll fit right in and show that he’s a very good first division player.”
Strathdale has already started pre-season training, with unusually high numbers on the track before Christmas.
“The most we’ve had is 35, I think, but everyone has been really keen,” Gough said.
Along with Allen, the Blues have signed two players from England – one of them a central defender.
The club will also regain several ex-players.
Among those is Xavier Clayton, who should be a key player for the Blues.
After having a year off, Aaron Murton will also return to Beischer Park.
Gough said Strathdale would resume training in mid-January, with a view to be in peak condition before the BASL pre-season competition starts.