Bradford Park Avenue have signed experienced goalkeeper Steven Drench from neighbours FC Halifax Town.
The 31-year-old is most well-known for his six-year spell at Guiseley AFC, where he featured under current Avenue boss Mark Bower.
Drench made 242 appearances at Nethermoor, helping the club to promotion via the Conference (National League) North play-offs in 2015.
He joins Avenue after making twenty-one appearances in Halifax’s successful promotion-winning campaign last term, and will also work with the club’s academy set up.
“Drenchy is an experienced non-League goalkeeper who has performed consistently at the top of our league for the past seven seasons,” Bower said. “Goalkeeper is a priority position and we saw what a difference Jon Worsnop made to the team last season when he came in.
“With that in mind, securing a keeper to replace him was never going to be easy, but we feel that we have now done that with his signing.
“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, known for his excellent distribution of the ball, began his career with Blackburn where he featured internationally for England Schoolboys and under-17s.
He then moved to Morecambe, initially on loan before joining permanently in 2006.
Making forty-seven appearances in his first full season with the Shrimps, Drench was awarded the club’s player of the year award as they won promotion from the Conference in 2007, though he missed the play-off final after dislocating his shoulder in the second semi-final against York City.
After struggling to regain his first-team spot, Drench joined Conference North side Southport on loan, again making the move permanent the following summer.
Spells at Cambridge United and Leigh Genesis followed before the goalkeeper moved to Guiseley after their promotion to the Conference North, ironically as a replacement for Worsnop.
He made 205 appearances for the Lions in non-League’s second tier before they earned promotion with an incredible comeback victory over Chorley in the 2015 play-off final.
Drench played thirty-seven times in the National League as Guiseley avoided the drop, before leaving the following summer for the Shaymen.
Injury halted a strong start to Drench’s campaign, and he left the Shay after twenty-one appearances for the club, joining Avenue, despite strong rumours he had moved to Alfreton Town.