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.

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