STOURBRIDGE director of rugby Neil Mitchell has already set the wheels in motion for his summer recruitment drive.

Mitchell is keen to add serious competition to his Stourton Park squad ahead of mounting a title tilt next season.

He has moved quickly to begin talks with some of his top targets.

He said: “I have spoken to around seven players already and discussed with them what we want to do here. That number will reach double figures very soon.

“There are a lot of Midland-based players around at the moment due to clubs being relegated and players being released. There is a pool of around 50 to 60 players that we can look at.

“It means the current squad know that competition (for places) is going to be strong here next season and they will have to step up if they want to be involved in the first team.”

Mitchell found himself questioning his players’ motivation after last Saturday’s disappointing 23-10 defeat at home to Sale.

Stour had been keen to sign off their home campaign with a compelling performance in front of a bumper crowd but instead produced an error-strewn display that finished with a loss.

Mitchell said: “It was boring. We had many opportunities early on and it could have been a different game if we’d have taken them. In the end we were left scratching our heads at where that performance came from.

“You have to wonder if some of the players care. My abiding memory of some of them will be at times like this, when there is nothing to play for, they seem to lack the necessary motivation. Too many go missing.”

Stour will now complete their season with trips to local rivals Luctonians on Saturday and then champions Macclesfield the following week.

“Luctonians will be loving this,” added Mitchell. “It looks like the players don’t care and they will be smelling blood. I’ll be interested to see how they respond. They have to show us they still want to be here with their performances in the next two games.”