Author: Square Peg

Experienced Striker Heads For Mickleover

by Peter Scherer

Mickleover have signed vastly experienced striker Leon Clarke from Kettering. With over 500 appearances and 140 goals, Clarke has played in every division of the Football League and won the League One title with both Sheffield Utd and Wolves.

He has played for many teams in his long career and started this season at Hartlepool, before a short stay at Kettering.

Mickleover play the sort of football I like, attractive and it’s the sort of opportunity I had to jump at with both hands

said Clarke.

It’s Back On The Road For Sports

by Peter Scherer

Following the 2-0 home win against Nuneaton Borough last weekend, it’s back on the road for Mickleover this weekend. 

With Andre Wright now out for the season and skipper Ryan Wilson still on the injured list, hopefully the rest of the  squad will be available.

We are visiting eighth placed Halesowen Town FC, managed by Paul Smith, with assistant Gary Whild and coach Martin Riley.

Smith took the team to promotion last season, having first taken charge in April 2019. He left in October 2022, but after only five months away was back at the helm again. He has also managed at Bromsgrove, Highgate and Redditch.

Whild worked at Kidderminster, Solihull Moors, Macclesfield, Barnet and Redditch, before joining our hosts in May.

Riley is still registered as a player too, a centre back and pre-season signing from Redditch. After starting as a youth player at Wolves, his career has taken him to Kidderminster, Cheltenham, Mansfield, Wrexham, Tranmere, Halifax, Alfreton, Hereford, Stourbridge, Tamworth and Hednesford, before arriving at Redditch in January 2023, after two months at Stratford, with over 100 league two games under his belt.

Our hosts were second in the table early on, before consecutive home defeats to Nuneaton and Hitchin. They have won all but one of their home games since then, and only lost away at Stourbridge and Needham Market. 

Dan Platt is their current goalkeeper, now in his third season with the club, after signing from Bromsgrove. He started out at Crewe Alexandra, before moving on to Telford, Nantwich, Stourport and Evesham. He then had three years with Oxford City, before making his first stop at Halesowen in 2015.

Four years later he had a brief spell at Hednesford, before two seasons at Bromsgrove preceded his current stay.

Right back Jak Hickman was a Coventry City Junior. He was loaned out to Ashton Utd, Hereford and Bromsgrove, before joining Bolton Wanderers on his release. 

After a further loan at Kings Lynn he went to Ireland with St.Patrick’s Athletic, before returning to England with Stourbridge at the beginning of last year. He then returned to Lynn, before a move to Banbury at the beginning of last season. He came to Halesowen on loan in March, making his stay permanent pre-season.

Left back Reece Mitchell was a pre-season signing from Rushall Olympic, where he had spent four years since arriving from Boldmere. He started at Leamington and has also played for Barwell, Highgate Utd and Sutton Coldfield.

Todd Parker is a young midfielder who came out of the Wolves Academy. He had two years at Hednesford following his release and came to our hosts pre-season.

Centre or right back Luke Redfern came straight from Stoke City’s Under 21’s in pre-season. He had previously been with Burton Albion, who had loaned him to Nuneaton and Sutton Coldfield. During his time with the Potters he also went out on loan to Hednesford.

Caine Elliott has recently arrived back after a loan spell at Rugby Town, from where he was signed in July.  A young central midfielder. He had previously spent two years at Stratford.

Midfielder Nathan Hayward is in his second season as a Yeltz player, having arrived from Bromsgrove. He started at Kidderminster, before moving on to Malvern and Worcester City. He first joined Bromsgrove in July 2018, but started the following season at Stourbridge. Two years later he returned to Bromsgrove and came to Halesowen in July last year.

Miracle Okafor is another pre-season signing, a striker who came from Scunthorpe’s youth team. He was loaned to Frickley Athletic, before joining Alvechurch on his release. Guiseley and Stourbridge were his next stops, with sixth months at Sporting Khalsa preceding his move to our hosts.

Right back Josh Ezewele is a former West Bromwich Albion Junior. He went to Yeovil Town following his release and was initially loaned to Kidderminster, before making it permanent. He was at Fylde, Alvechurch, Stourbridge and Bromsgrove, before returning to Alvechurch in July 2021 and has been at Halesowen since February 2022.

Midfielder George Cater started out at West Brom too., before moving on to Kidderminster. His next move was Stafford Rangers, followed by Hednesford and Chasetown. He spent last season with Tamworth and was another pre-season arrival.

Josh Hawker is another pre-signing and another midfielder. He is an ex Birmingham City Junior, who played for Leamington and Redditch, before first arriving at Halesowen in July 2019. After three years he went to Stratford, where he spent last season.

Striker Richard Gregory is one of the longer serving players, having come from Bromsgrove in July 2020. He started at Boldmere and has also played for Rugby Town, Stratford, Leamington and Stafford Rangers.

Fellow striker Simon Cobourne is in his third spell at Halesowen. He started at Coleshill and moved on via Solihull Moors, Heather St.John and Romulus before his first stay with our hosts in November 2019. 

He left to join Rushall 18 months later, but was back after three months. He then started this season back at Coleshill, but returned again after just seven weeks.

Ryan Wynter came from Chasetown pre-season, after a three year stay, having made over 250 appearances. Now a centre back he started off as a striker with Stafford Rangers.

Defender Kieren Donnelly was signed from Redditch in October last year. A former Aston Villa Academy player, he has also played for Nuneaton Borough.

Macauley Manning is an attacking midfielder who firstly came from Coventry Utd in November 2019. He has also played for Highgate Utd, Redditch and Alvechurch and returned to Halesowen in March, after a spell in New Zealand.

Midfielder Jack Holmes started at Burton Albion, before coming to Halesowen. He joined Hereford in September last year on a dual registration, but returned to our hosts earlier this year.

Defender Rob Evans only left the club in May to join Coleshill after four years and over well over 100 appearances, and has recently returned. 

Ryan Boothe was another pre-season signing, a striker from Anstey Nomads. He has played for Rushall Olympic, Sutton Coldfield and Lye Town and had been at Anstey since September 2020.

Defender Owen Woodhouse came straight from his release at Forest Green in the summer, after an 11 year stay. He was previously at the Wolves and Walsall Academies.

Striker Luke Postle and defender Ethan Green have also come into the squad recently, both products of their own youth scheme.

Kick off is 3pm and hopefully the forecasted frosts won’t cause too many concerns with the grass pitch.

Ex Blues Defender Joins Sports

by Peter Scherer

Mickleover have signed former Birmingham City defender Lewis Cunningham and gave him a short sharp debut in last Saturday’s win at home to Nuneaton Borough, before he went off injured after 15 minutes.

A former Manchester City Youth player, the 21 year old has also played for Barnsley, Doncaster Rovers and York City.

We’re Back To Winning Ways

by Peter Scherer

Two first half goals returned Mickleover to winning ways, seeing off form team Nuneaton Borough to consolidate our top of the table position.

Starting line-up: 1-Oliver Bosworth 2-Jake Bennett 3-Lewis Cunningham 4-Will Atkinson 5-Fin Delap 6-Ethan Mann 7-Andy Dales 8-Ben Sault 9-Fin Ryder 10-Narcus Barnes 11-Oli Greaves. Subs: Will Trueman, Stuart Beavon, Dan Bradley, Kian Riley, Matty Bowman.

It was a lively start to the game with Nuneaton earning a corner in the second minute, before Barnes got on the end of a Mickleover break, with a shot just wide of the right-hand post.

Sports were almost through again two minutes later, after a scramble in the Nuneaton box, was finally cleared.

Both Cunningham and Bennett were soon making progress on the overlaps and after a good build up down the right, the cross missed everyone, before Cunningham followed up  but shot well over.

Barely 15 minutes into his debut Cunningham was down injured and had to be replaced by Bowman, making his home debut.

The confidence was visibly building though with Atkinson in more of a playmaker role, setting Sault, Dales and Greaves on telling runs.

17 minutes in and Dales cut in from the left, let fly with a hard shot, saved by keeper Jezeph, before rebounding clear. Bowman then had a quick one two with Dales, but the final shot was over the bar.

As the completion of the first half hour approached, a lovely build up down the left again with Bowman and Dales found Greaves in the box. He managed to create a shooting opportunity, but it was straight at the keeper.

Ryder had been holding the ball well, but when he was fouled on the edge of the box, Greaves’ following free kick was straight at the wall.

The pressure on the visitors defence had continued to build and after 32 minutes, Jezeph had committed himself and both Dales and Greaves managed to get shots in, before the keeper recovered the situation.

Only a minute later Barnes had almost broken through. He still got shot in but it was just wide again, before Dales charged in to have another crack over the bar.

Finally the ball went in after 36 minutes, but it followed a another scramble in the Nuneaton box, before Bowman got his foot to the ball and it was 1-0.

Ryder had held the ball for Dales to have a 39th minute shot, but it was over again, but goal number two followed in time added on, when a nice through ball found Barnes on the right, as he cut in and slotted it neatly past the advancing Jezeph 2-0.

“A nice half turn and slotted it in, great adrenaline rush after that and I need that to carry me into the next few games,” said Barnes.

Nuneaton had a late shot wide of the mark to conclude a first half, which had been a positive all- round performance from Mickleover.

Although Nuneaton seemed to up their pace at the start of the second half, Mickleover were soon on the attack again, and went close after 49 minutes.

After a few minutes of Nuneaton pressure had been capably dealt with my Mann, Delap, Bennett and Bowman in the Sports defence, Ryder latched onto a 52nd minute break, but his shot was straight at the keeper.

Barnes had another attempt high and wide, before Mann charged out of defence, but his long ball was just a bit too long for Ryder.

Into the final half hour both Sault and Greaves found themselves hacked down just outside the box. Greaves took both free kicks, the first was on target and well held by Jezeph, the second was layed off to Sault, whose powerful shot was palmed away by the keeper.

Mickleover continued to press for a third, but mindful of any breaks from the visitors. But each attempt Nuneaton had to break free, was dealt with by positively by Delap and Mann.

An 85th minute cross from Bowman, just missed Ryder’s head and a minute later Sault had another shot saved. Greaves then put another free kick into the wall, but with one minute of normal time left, Nuneaton did get a break, crossed from the left, before Lita fired it well over the bar, leaving Bosworth untroubled.

Into injury time there was more chance for Mickleover, when a Bowman cross to Ryder, was nicely layed off for Barnes, but a unco-operative bounce caused the striker to miskick and the chance was gone.

Trueman played a short cameo role after subbing for Ryder, but the whistle went securing the 2-0 victory, leaving Sports five points clear still.

It’s Boro This Saturday!!

by Peter Scherer

Still top of the table Mickleover will be keen to return to winning ways and hope to have skipper Ryan Wilson back in the squad this weekend, while Stuart Beavon will hopefully have shaken off a knock he took at Kettering last Tuesday.

Joe Bateman is also due back after suspension, while Matty Bowman should make his home debut.

Our visitors this Saturday are Nuneaton Borough, who have had a traumatic stat to the season. Due to financial problems they have been playing home matches at Stratford Town, but only this week have had their future secured in a successful takeover.

Currently seventh in the table, they have fought back from a disastrous start to the season, which included a 7-0 defeat at Telford. They have now had five straight league victories, the last a 3-2 home won over Alvechurch.

Manager and now former director Jimmy Ginnelly has retained the core of last years side, that just missed out on promotion, but added a number of new faces too.

First choice goalkeeper Dan Jezeph came from Alvechurch pre-season, where he had spent two seasons since arriving from Worcester City. He is a former Walsall youth player and has also played for Tamworth.

Reserve keeper Liam Castle came in July last year from Barwell, where he spent almost 10 years since arriving from Basingstoke.

Centre back Scott McManus is the current club captain. He was at Curzon Ashton initially, before joining Crewe Alexandra and making a handful of league appearances. He then had a year at Stranraer, before joining FC United and had seven years at Halifax Town. He came to Nuneaton in December 2020, after a couple of seasons at Coalville.

Victor Nirennold is another centre back, with League One and Scottish Premiership experience. He started his youth career with Stade Rennais in France, before heading to the US with Miami City, before coming to the UK with Fleetwood in 2015. After a loan at Guiseley he headed to FK Senica in Slovakia, 

Next stop was Da Nag FC in Vietnam for a year, before going to UiTM FC in Malaysia for two years. Back in the UK his first stop was Motherwell and before coming to Nuneaton pre-season, he had a short spell with Gloucester City.

Kane Richards is a Derby born striker, who came from the Derby County Academy. After a loan at Ilkeston, he signed for Matlock on his release, moving onto Chester, with a loan at Gainsborough, before joining Dover Athletic, who loaned him to Telford. Then a permanent move to Kidderminster, before he then spent three-years at Basford before coming to Nuneaton in July 2022.

Italian born midfielder Prince Mancinelli arrived from Belper Town in June 2022. He has also played for Long Eaton Utd, Radford, Basford and Tamworth.

Centre back Lathaniel Rowe-Turner is an ex-League One and Two player who started at Leicester City. He was loaned to Cheltenham, Redditch and Kings Lynn before a permanent move to Torquay. Two years later he moved to Luton and after an initial loan, moved on to Alfreton Town.

He then joined Kidderminster and was loaned to Nuneaton in January 2016. A return spell at Torquay was followed by spells at Chester, Kettering and Tamworth, before spending a year at Stourbridge prior to his Nuneaton signing in July 2022.

Isaiah Osbourne was an England Under 16 International, who played his junior football with Derby County, until Aston Villa spotted him. The midfielder made 30 starts mostly in the Premiership and was also loaned to Nottingham Forest, Middlesbrough and Sheffield Wednesday. He moved to the Scottish Premiership in 2011 with Hibernian, but after 30 appearances he headed south to Blackpool.

Scunthorpe, Walsall and Forest Green followed, but after almost 300 senior games, he went non-league for the first time with Nuneaton in October 2021.

Former Coventry City junior striker Matty Stenson joined Barwell on his release from the Sky Blues. He moved on fairly quickly to Leamington, before spending a year with Solihull Moors. He was loaned to Telford before a permanent move to Halifax, but was loaned again to Tamworth and Kidderminster, before joining Nuneaton at the beginning of last season after spending two years on Halifax’s books.

Left back Jaden Charles was a Derby County Junior before moving to Mansfield Town. He had loans at York City, Hereford and Nuneaton, before making a permanent move to our visitors in July 2022. He is also a Republic of Ireland Under 18 International.

Midfielder Kyle Storer came from Solihull Moors in January. He was a Leicester City Junior, who has also played for Bedworth, Tamworth, Atherstone and Hinckley Utd, before arriving at Nuneaton in 2009.

After just over two years he went to Kidderminster, moving on to Wrexham and Cheltenham, before a five-year spell at Solihull. He is also the clubs assistant manager.

Right back Camron McWilliams started out at Northampton Town. He then had a spell at Cardiff City, before joining St Ives and then Nuneaton in December 2021. After a loan at Sutton Coldfield he returned to Nuneaton in May 2022.

Former England Under 21 striker Leroy Lita came from Ilkeston in pre-season. He has played in every division of the football league, making over 350 appearances and scoring over 100 goals. 

He started at Bristol City and was the sold to Reading. Loans at Charlton and Norwich followed, before he made a permanent move to Middlesbrough. Then a £2 million pound move took him to Swansea in 2011, but was loaned again to Brighton before a move to Barnsley. 

A loan at Notts County came next, before he headed AO Chania in Crete. He returned to the UK with Yeovil Town, before going to Sisaket FC in Thailand.

Margate, Haverhill, Salisbury and Chelmsford were his next stops, before coming to Nuneaton for the first time in July 2020. After two years he left for Stratford and has been at Hednesford and Ilkeston before making his return pre-season.

Milan Butterfield is a Bermudan international midfielder, capped at full, under 20 and under 17 levels. He started his career with Robin Hood in Bermuda, before coming to the UK with Walsall.

After a loan at Rushall Olympic he signed for Kidderminster on his release, moving on to Chesterfield and Guiseley. He had two years at Alfreton before coming to Nuneaton pre-season.

Callum Chettle is well known to Sports fans, having spent most of the last year on Mickleover’s books. He started his youth career at Nottingham Forest, following in the footsteps of Father Steve.

Moving onto Ilkeston Town and made his league debut at the age of 15, but after three years moved on to Nuneaton.

His next stop was at Peterborough Utd, where he made 22 appearances for the League One side, before joining Alfreton, after a brief loan at Fylde.

Further loans at Boston Utd and Matlock preceded a three year stay at Basford, re-united with manager and Father Steve.

A strong running midfielder he came to Mickleover at the start of last year season, but injuries restricted his appearances and he started this season at Nuneaton. After a month back at Mickleover recently, he has now returned to Nuneaton.

Left back Alex Lafleur was another pre-season signing from Kings Langley, where had played for two seasons. Most of his career has been spent in the South, starting out at Wealdstone. He has played for Edgware, Chalfont St.Peter, Gosport Borough, Salisbury, Moneyfields and Beaconsfield too.

Elwalid Elhaghany is another defender and pre-season signing, having come from Coventry Utd.

Owen Oseni is a young striker on loan from Derby County, having joined the Rams in February from League of Ireland side Waterford.

Young midfielders Beau Friel and Luke Curtlin have recently joined the first team squad after coming through the clubs own Academy.

Kick off at the Don Amott Arena is 3pm, full bar and catering, SO BE THERE!!

Bowman Signs

by Peter Scherer

Mickleover have added midfielder Matty Bowman to their squad, after he signed from Basford towards the end of last week.

The 22 year old has also played for Scarborough and Dunfermline Athletic and represented England Independent Schools during his time at Repton.

He debuted for sports on Tuesday night at right back, in the way defat at Ketering.

It’s Tough At The Top

by Peter Scherer

Without a win in the last four league games, hopes were high of three points on the visit to managerless Kettering Town. But two second half goals for the hosts sent Mickleover home pointless, on a disappointing evening.

Starting line-up: 1-Oliver Bosworth 2-Jake Bennett 3-Matty Bowman 4-Will Atkinson 5-Fin Delap 6-Ethan Mann 7-Andy Dales 8-Ben Sault 9-Stuart Beavon 10-Marcus Barnes 11-Oli Greaves. Subs: Fin Ryder, Kian Ryley, Dan Bradley, Will Trueman, Brandon Ferron.

Mickleover made a bright start and in the opening minute a Dales cross from the left was just a whisker away from connecting with Barnes head.

Six minutes later and some good work from Dales again on the left, saw his path blocked, before the ball ran free to Bennett who had his shot saved by keeper Johnson.

After Mickleover had dominated the opening 10 minutes, Kettering started to look for opportunities to break out of their own half, but with Bowman overlapping on the right, Dales put a header just wide after 12 minutes.

Beavon was then fouled just outside the box, with Greaves’ free kick beating the wall and the keeper before hitting the bar.

15 minutes in and Greaves was almost through again, but was caught out by the bounce and shot just wide, as Mickleover continued to dominate possession.

Bennett tried his look a couple of minutes later, with his effort landing on top of the net, before Dales earned a sequence of corners. Sault picked up on one corner, but his chip was well over the bar. 

The ball was in for Mickleover after 20 minutes after a defensive error, but the offside flag was waving, then Atkinson burst forward after 26 minutes, found Dales, then Sault, before Beavon’s shot on the rebound was saved.

Beavon had taken a knock when his shot was blocked and was replaced by Ryder, but the action briefly moved to the other end of the pitch just after the half hour mark.

Kettering had a corner on the left, it was initially cleared, but Bosworth had to dive to his left to keep out the follow up shot and there was another corner.

As we went into the final 10 minutes of the first half, Kettering pressed more and went close again with a 36th minute free kick.

But Sports went close again too after 37 minutes, when Dales shot, the keeper failed to hold the ball and it almost fell to Bennett who was following up.

Dales jinked through again in time added on, but his cross found no one waiting and despite Mickleover dominating the possession, it remained 0-0.

Only two minutes into the second half the hosts broke the deadlock, when play down the Mickleover left, saw the ball sent over, meeting Huw Dawson’s head and it was 0-1.

The solidity of the Mickleover defence continued to look more vulnerable, with Delap and Mann under pressure, as Kettering gained confidence.

Dales continued to try and push forward, with a cross just out of play after 50 minutes, before he was fouled a minute later, with Greaves’ following free-kick straight into the keepers hands.

The pressure continued to be on the Sports defence and after another sequence of corners, which finally resulted in a second goal for our hosts after 54 minutes, as Ben Toseland headed home, 0-2.

Greaves then got onto the end of break, but a push in the back as he was about to shoot, saw his effort run wide.

Scott was looking for a Kettering third a few minutes later, but his powerful shot was palmed away by Bosworth. Then a cross from the right went across the face of the Mickleover goal, keeping Bosworth on his toes again.

Miller then had another shot saved by Bosworth, before Sports began to up their pace again and worked hard to move forward. Atkinson led one charge again and found Greaves in the box. His path was blocked however with some solid home defending.

Just past the hour mark Sault was close to breaking through, but stopped by a last ditch tackle, before he was substituted to make way for Trueman.

The last 20 minutes became a real dog fight, as Mickleover were back with the majority of the possession, but the Kettering defence seemed to take everything that was thrown at them.

Riley came on for Barnes for the last 15 minutes and went desperately close to pulling a goal back. His shot went through the keepers hands, but Langmead was stood behind him and cleared off the line.

A couple of minutes later Riley went close again with a header, but time finally ran out and Sports recorded their second league defeat of the season and are now without a win in the last five games. 

So now we look forward to Saturday, when Nuneaton visit the Don Amott Arena.

It’s Back To The League

by Peter Scherer

Mickleover return to their league campaign tomorrow night, with a visit to strugglers Kettering Town, following there giant killing FA Trophy at Spennymoor.

Hopefully any knocks picked up last Saturday will have cleared and gaffer John McGrath will have a full squad to choose from.

Relegated from the National League North, its been a tough start for the Poppies, who are currently managerless after Andy Leese was dismissed.

Ben Watts and Jim La Masurier are currently looking after team affairs, but have yet to take charge in a league game.

They went down 1-3 at Coalville in their last game, but were winners when Royston visited Latimer Park at the beginning of the month, their only home win this season.

First choice keeper Bill Johnson came from Braintree pre-season. A former Norwich City Junior, he was loaned to Lowestoft and Braintree, before a permanent move to Stevenage on his release. He has returned to Braintree on numerous occasions, after spells at Gloucester City and Leiston too.

His deputy is Nial Shackleton, signed pre-season from Wellingborough Whitworth, having previously played for Rugby Borough,

Right back Owen Cochrane is currently on loan from Stevenage. He also been loaned out to Potters Bar and has made one League Two appearance for his host team.

Skipper Lewis White is a centre back that started with Shepshed Dynamo. He then spent almost two years at Corby before joining our hosts for the start of last season. He had a spell with Coventry City as a youngster and also played for Oadby Owls.

Kelvin Langmead was a pre-season arrival, but brought with him vast experience of 400 mainly league two appearances. Initially a Junior at Preston North End, he had loan spells at Tamworth, Carlisle and Kidderminster, before signing for Shrewsbury on his release. Peterborough, Northampton and Ebbsfleet followed, before a loan back at Kidderminster preceded a move to Nuneaton.

After two season he spent a year each at Harrogate and Brackley, before becoming a Poppy after three years with Banbury.

Central midfielder Harry Reilly started his career in the US with Rio Red Storm, being loaned to Mississippi too. He returned to the UK with Stratford Town in August 2020, moving o to Daventry, before a year at Banbury preceded his arrival at Kettering in August 2022.

Dan Jarvis is a central midfielder too, having started off as a Stoke City Junior. He went to Wrexham on his release, before joining Gateshead in July 2022. He was loaned to Hereford too, before arriving at Kettering pre-season

Vastly experienced striker Leon Clarke arrived last month, having played over 500 senior games, across all four divisions of the football league, scoring 153 goals.

He was in and out of the Wolves Academy at the start of his career, along with spells at Kidderminster, QPR and Plymouth. Sheffield Wednesday, Oldham and Southend, before returning to QPR in 2010.

He was soon on the move again with a short spell at Preston before going back to QPR. Swindon, Chesterfield and Charlton followed, before being loaned to Crawley Town and Scunthorpe.

Following his release in 2013, he spent a year at Coventry, before going back to Wolves. But after a loan at Wigan he joined Bury, before a move to Sheffield Utd saw him loaned back to Wigan. Next it was Shrewsbury, Bristol Rovers, Hartlepool and Rushall Olympic, before his move to Latimer Park.

Fellow striker Tyrone Lewthwaite is a former Northern Ireland Under 19 International. He started his career with Watford and Rotherham, before going to Hampton & Richmond. He then moved on to Chesham, Beaconsfield and Aylesbury Utd, before joining Kettering in October 2022 after three months at Bedford.

Sam Bennett is another striker that arrived at the beginning of last season. He was a Cambridge Utd Junior, who was loaned to Mildenhall, before joining Yaxley Utd on his release in 2021. Soham was his next stop before a nine month stop at Wisbech, preceded his Poppies move.

Left back Ben Toseland was a Northampton Town Junior. He went to Peterborough Sports on his release, before spending 2 ½ years at St.Ives prior to his Kettering move in July 2022.

Rhys Sharpe is a left back too and former Northern Ireland Under 21 International, with League Two experience. He was a former Rams Academy player, but after a loan at Shrewsbury Town, he joined Notts County. He then had a short spell at Swindon, before going to Matlock Town, Tamworth and Nuneaton. He came to Kettering in November 2020 after a month at Stratford.

Right back and sometimes captain Gary Stohrer is the longest serving player, having arrived from Frickley Athletic in July 2017, having previously been at Shaw Lane.

Luca Purse is a defender who was signed pre-season. He has previously played for Cogenhoe United, Barton Rovers, Biggleswade Town, AFC Rushden & Diamonds U18s and is the son of Darren Purse, who played for Birmingham City and Cardiff City.

Former Sunderland Junior midfielder Tom Scott was on loan from the Black Cats last season. He briefly joined Banbury at the start of this season,  but soon made his move to Latimer Park.

Gedeon Okito is a left-back who came through the MK Dons U18’s Academy. He has played for Dunstable Town, Stratford Town and AFC Dunstable, before signing from Banbury pre-season.

Striker Will Mellors-Blair started off as Manchester Utd youngster, before moving onto Walsall. He then tried his luck in the US with Detroit City, where he became a prolific goal scorer. After his return to the UK he played for Solihull Moors, Kings Lynn, Stamford and Loughborough Dynamo, and came to Kettering pre-season.

Kieron Dawes is a recent signing from Stratford. A defender, he started out at Birmingham City and was loaned to Sutton Coldfield and Hednesford, before joining Coleshill on his release.

A return trip to Hednesford followed, before stops at Stafford Rangers and Redditch. He then moved onto Bromsgrove, before going to Stratford last February.

Midfielder Huw Dawson was another pre-season signing from St.Albans.

Josh Drain and Luca Miler have both come through the clubs own youth scheme.

Finally Nigerian Under 17 World Cup winning defender Habib Makanjuola is the latest addition to the squad. He played at Chelsea and Leicester, before going to Scunthorpe Utd, where he was also loaned out to Ilkeston and Gainsborough.

Kick off as usual is 7.45.