SALTMEN manager Mark Owen has called for patience with new signing Jordan Cox following his debut in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Wrens Nest.
The 20-year-old winger joins from Aston Villa’s academy, where he made 62 appearances in all in Premier League 2 and in the FA Youth Cup, and appeared towards the end of Droitwich’s latest league encounter from the bench.
Owen says he will take caution with bedding Cox into the side, considering the player’s injury troubles in recent years.
“It’s going to take time, he had some bad injuries towards the end of his tenure at Villa,” he said.
“But there’s no pressure on him, it’s a process that we’ll look to carry out over the next few weeks.”
Spa returned from Dudley with a valuable point last weekend, having found chances hard to come by in the first half on a 3G playing surface.
They fell behind just five minutes into the second half, when Ethan Delaney finished from close range following sloppy defending.
But after going behind, the Saltmen increasingly grew in confidence and began to control proceedings, boosted by the introduction of Jack Davies from the bench on the hour mark.
He was denied three times by Wrens Nest keeper Josh Raden, who was also equal to chances that fell to James Lemon and Ben Tilbury.
On the occasion that he was finally beaten by Haydn Morris’ chip, the frame of the bar came to the rescue to keep the hosts in front.
The scores were eventually level when Cory Rudd sent Tilbury through on goal, who, after spotting Raden attempting to close him down, squared the ball unselfishly for Lemon to tap home.
Connor Collins wasted an opportunity to put Spa in front when deliberating on the ball, but with Droitwich keeper Matt Oliver heroically keeping out Nathan Guest’s powerful strike from close range at the death, Owen was left content with the draw.
“We were potentially lucky to get a point,” he said.
“I didn’t think we played well, in the first half we were sloppy and they were on a different level to us.
“We came into it in the second half and then Matt made a great save towards the end.
“So you wake up the next day and you feel happy to take a point.”
Spa visit one of their pre-season opponents – Kidderminster Harriers under-21’s – on Saturday (3pm) as they begin their Worcestershire FA County Cup defence.
The Droitwich manager views the tie as an opportunity to test some of his fringe players against tricky opposition.
“Pre-season matches are what they are, it’ll be a different game,” said Owen.
“They’re doing well at the top of their league, so they’ll be difficult opponents on Saturday.
“We’ll look at a couple of different things, there were lads on the bench who didn’t come on at the weekend so we’ll be looking to give them minutes.”