Doncaster Hockey Club have enlisted the help of a double Olympian in their bid to bounce back to the National League.
Former Pakistan captain Muhammad Nadeem, who played 285 internationals for his country, made his debut for the Bennetthorpe club last month.
Nadeem represented Pakistan at the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games.
The 41-year-old has previously played for Beeston in the EHL Premier Division but for him to drop down to the third tier of the English domestic game represents a massive coup for Doncaster.
Last season the Town Field men lost their place in the National League for the first time since its inception 25 years ago.
But the recruitment of Nadeem, who can play in midfield or attack, has increased hopes that Doncaster can bounce back at the first time of asking.
“He’s a top player and it’s a big coup for the club to get him here,” said skipper Tim Shelley.
“We’re a young group of lads and sometimes you make impulse decisions on the field.
“Muhammad brings with him a wealth of experience. He’ll bring composure to our play and also add structure to the club.
“The biggest thing for him is that he wants to impart the knowledge that he has, and help us get back into the National League at the first attempt.
“I’m the third oldest player in the team at 25, which says it all really. Muhammad wants to help develop the younger players here.
“He’s here for the season but he’s keen to make his stay longer and build a relationship with the club.”
Nadeem was on the scoresheet on Saturday as Doncaster won 4-1 at Ben Rhydding to make it three wins out of three in the Premier Division of the Northern League.
Marcus Hooper, Matt Gibson and Rob Peregrine also found the net to maintain the men’s perfect start.
“Last season we weren’t quite good enough to stay in the league,” said Shelley.
“But this year we’ve got a core group of 16 lads and every one of those lads are good enough to be in the starting line up.
“We’ve got a good base to go forward.
“We’ve scored 17 goals in three games which is a real positive.
“It’s still early days and we don’t know much about a lot of the sides in this league. We don’t have the historical knowledge of the teams we’re facing.
“But we’re going into games with a positive mentality and hopefully, with a bit of consistency, we can get promoted at the first time of asking.”
Doncaster’s ladies, meanwhile, suffered a third straight defeat as they went down 3-0 at home to University of Durham.