HEREFORD United have snapped up central defender Mark Williams to bolster their squad ahead of the new Nationwide Conference campaign, writes Ian Morgan.

Liverpool-born Williams has signed a two-year deal after being released by Division One new boys Rotherham United at the end of last season.

The 22-year-old has been on the books of Everton, Tranmere Rovers and Rochdale, where he made 14 league appearances.

Williams played 11 times for the Millers, and although he did not feature in their Second Division promotion-winning campaign, he did make 16 successive appearances reserve team appearances for the Yorkshire club.

He is the Bulls' third summer signing following Scott Voice, from Bilston, and Scott Goodwin, from Hednesford Town.

United director of football Graham Turner said: "We had been looking for a central defender and needed a physical presence in the side. Williams is 6ft 2in, weighs 14 stone, and can play alongside Tony James or Ian Wright. He will be pushing for a place in the centre of the defence."

Turner added: "We saw Williams play a couple of times for Rotherham Reserves and he has been recommended by Rotherham's manager, Ronnie Moore. Moore let Williams go because he is looking to make room for more quality players."

Turner has now stepped up his quest for a new midfielder and invited half-a-dozen trialists to take part over the next five-and-half weeks in the club's pre-season training. Turner believes he is forming a squad with a realistic chance of securing a top-five finish in the league.

The Bulls have hastily arranged a pre-season friendly at Stourport Swifts on July 24 , kick-off 7.45pm. They were scheduled to travel to Tamworth that evening, but the Lambs have cancelled the fixture because they will be facing an Aston Villa side the previous night.