ALDERSHOT Town are close to securing the signature of a top striker from the professional ranks in a bid to plug the gaps which have formed in their forward line.

The Shots are hot on the heels of a Nationwide League division three striker expected to become one of the first to be forced into the non-League game as a result of the ITV Digital collapse and subsequent financial drains on the professional game.

Naturally, assistant boss Stuart Cash wasn't revealing the identity of the Shots target due to the intense competition involved in signing players of such stature.

But he can reveal that he is a regular scorer in division three and the perfect foil for fellow new boy Roscoe D'sane and record signing Grant Payne in the Shots front line next season.

As the News went to press on Wednesday night, Cash was awaiting the nod from the highly-rated frontman and hopes to have the deal signed, sealed and delivered in time for the start of training on Tuesday.

Since the release of Mark Watson and Scott Forrester and the decision of Stafford Browne to turn his back on the Shots and sign for Grays, the forward line has become boss Terry Brown's main concern as the new season approaches.

Forrester has since joined George Borg at Billericay and even though Watson remains at the club, Brown only has the option of Payne and D'sane at present.

The big name target is just one of seven or eight players keeping the management team at the Rec busy at the moment.

Although there have been no signings of late, the door has constantly been open and Brown and Cash are currently in talks with two midfielders, two other strikers and a centre-half.

And then of course there's the bid for defender Anthony Charles which is still on ice, pending an FA tribunal after Hayes rejected Aldershot's initial bid.

"Things aren't moving very quickly but we're getting close to making some signings now," revealed Cash.

The attentions of the coaching staff will soon switch to training, as the camp regroups on Tuesday for their first session.

In a bid to increase the fitness levels of the players for the forthcoming season the Shots will be training a staggering four days a week throughout July — a move inspired, as Cash explains, by Graham Westley down the road at Farnborough Town.

"We want to get a lot more out of the players," Cash added. "We want to get them a lot fitter and that's the reason we've doubled training.

"They did it last year at Farnborough and it is a major change for us, but we hope to reap the benefits of increasing our fitness levels."

The squad will now train Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday to help prepare for challenge that awaits.

With Grays and Canvey Island ever active in the transfer market, the Shots will have their work cut out again this year but Brown and Cash remain confident that this could just be the season where the dream of Conference football comes true.

Meanwhile, the club are keen to dispell rumours of a possible FA Cup third qualifying round clash with Canvey Island, which have done the rounds this week.

The talk was that the Shots and Canvey could have met up early on in the competition at the Rec, but these have been proved false because the draw has not yet been made!

One "fan" stated on the Shotsweb message board that Aldershot were to face Fisher 93 or East Thurrock in the second qualifying round match and the winners could then face Concord Rangers, Great Wakering Rovers, Wivenhoe or Canvey.

It prompted supporters to discuss the probable return to the Rec of Ollie Adedeji and Lee Protheroe, who have since made the switch to Park Lane.

At least the first qualifying round draw of the FA Cup is expected to take place this weekend, but it could still mean that Shots fans have to wait even longer to discover their cup destiny.