by Peter Scherer
This time last season Mickleover were riding high at the top of the NPL, in a season, the second in succession, that was not to be.
How circumstances can change in one year, as we now seek points to escape the danger of relegation.
Our hosts this weekend at Radcliffe FC are another one of the teams who had been struggling this season. But having won their last three NPL games, Basford and Hyde away and Lancaster at home, they have now climbed to 17th in the table, two places and three points clear of Mickleover.
Their last game was last Saturday, when they beat Frickley 3-1 in the FA Trophy.
So let’s take a look at their team.
Cameron Belford is an experienced goalkeeper, who started out in Coventry City’s youth team. After a spell on loan at Tamworth, he spent six years with Bury in League’s One and Two making 86 appearances.
Further loans at Worcester City, Southend Utd and Accrington Stanley, then preceded a full time move to Tamworth.
He then moved on to Mansfield Town, Rushall Olympic, Swindon Town and Wrexham, before a loan spell at Stranraer.
More recently he has played for Forest Green Rovers, Chorley and Nuneaton, before a loan spell at FC United. He came to Radcliffe in July last year.
Second choice keeper is Joey Oldham, a home grown talent who is learning from Belford’s experience.
Right back Tom Miller is a former Norwich City Youth team player. He moved on to Glasgow Rangers, but didn’t make the first team, but made one appearance for Brechin City during a loan spell.
His next stop was Dundalk in Ireland, where he played 37 games for the League of Ireland side, before moving to Newport County.
He then joined Lincoln City after an initial loan, before going to League Two Carlisle for four years. Spells at Bury and Fylde then came before his arrival at Radcliffe in October 2020.
Centre back Taylor Jones was signed pre-season from Oldham Athletic’s ranks, while fellow centre back Olly Thornley came in from Curzon Ashton, after coming through their youth scheme.
Defender Jo Cummings came through Sheffield United’s Academy and made two senior appearances for the Blades. He then moved to Charlton Athletic and made two appearances in his two seasons there and was also loaned to Guiseley.
He then moved to Scunthorpe but didn’t get the break and came to Radcliffe initially on loan in March last year, before making it permanent two months later.
Simon Lenighan is a midfielder with vast experience. After starting out with Leeds Utd, he had loans at Bradford PA and Halifax, before joining Harrogate on his release in 2014.
He had a loan at Alfreton before joining Frickley, Rotherham and then Warrington. Further moves have taken him to Altrincham, Shaw Lane and Glossop NE, then Guiseley before a return trip to Halifax.
He was at Mossley and Buxton before arriving at Radcliffe in July 2020.TheN after six months at Telford, he returned to Radcliffe pre-season.
Midfielder Jack Baxter is currently on loan from Preston North End. He has previously had loans at Clitheroe, Stalybridge and Cork City.
Midfielder Matty Crothers is one of Radcliffe’s longest serving players, having been part of their 2018/19 promotion side. He was previously at Curzon Ashton having been discovered in the Oldham Sunday League.
Striker Kole Hall is a Bermudan International. He was a youth team player at Tranmere Rovers, before joining City of Liverpool. He joined Radcliffe last year and has also been on loan at Telford Utd.
After coming through Accrington Stanley’s youth scheme, Bobby Grant went on to make 77 appearances and score 19 goals for the League Two side, before moving to Scunthorpe in the Championship and League One, scoring a further 11 goals in 70 games.
He went on loan to Rochdale and Accrington before a permanent move to Rochdale, then spent two seasons at Blackpool, with loans Fleetwood and Shrewsbury, before a permanent move to League One Fleetwood.
He made 139 appearances and scored 24 goals in his four seasons at Fleetwood and was at Wrexham and loan at Accrington again and Oldham, before arriving at Radcliffe in June as player coach.
Adam Dawson is another player with a vast experience. The winger played his youth football at Bury and Liverpool, before joining Wigan Athletic on his release.
He made one first team appearance on loan at Accrington, before joining Bacup Brough, FC United and Barrow.
He was soon on the move again to Nelson, before signing for Leicester City in 2013 after a successful trial.
Loans at Notts County, Nuneaton and Bristol Rovers before joining Kidderminster. It was then a loan at Tranmere before joining Nuneaton, then short stays at Eastleigh and Tranmere again, which included a loan at Darlington.
He has moved on via Southport, Telford, Chester, Macclesfield, before a month’s loan at Radcliffe in December 2019. A brief stay in Cyprus with Achyronas Liopetriou preceded his move back to Radcliffe in August.
Midfielder Chris Taylor came through the ranks at Oldham Athletic before making 285 first team appearances scoring 33 goals.
After playing for Millwall, Blackburn Rovers and Bolton Wanderers, he returned to Oldham on loan in January 2017.
Further moves to Blackpoll and Bradford City followed, before he joined Radcliffe from League Two Barrow last month.
Jean Louis Akpa-Akpro is a striker who started out with his home town club Toulouse. He made 46 first team appearances and scored five goals, plus a loan spell at Brest followed before a move to FC Brussels.
He came to the UK in December 2008 with Grimsby Town scoring eight goals in 56 games. Over the next few years he was a regular goalscorer at Rochdale, Tranmere and Shrewsbury and was on loan at Bury too, before joining Barnet.
After a loan at Yeovil he joined UAE side Masfout, before returning to the UK with Oldham Athletic in November 2019. He signed for Radcliffe in March 2020 and his Brother Jean Daniel is an Ivory Coast International.
Kingsley Williams is midfielder and former Radcliffe captain who started out at Oldham and Sheffield United before joining Northwich Victoria. He then moved to Bacup Borough and Alfreton and has played for Sydney Olympic in Australia.
A short stay at Leonesa in Spain preceded his UK return with Ilkeston and after a year at Trafford Park he joined Radcliffe in December 2017. He then joined Widnes in February 2020 and returned to Radcliffe in July this year.
Nathan Valentine is an attacking midfielder. He spent time at Wakefield, Harrogate, AFC Liverpool, Radcliffe, Frickley, Scarborough Athletic, Stalybridge and Matlock before joining Bury In December 2020. He came to Radcliffe pre-season.
Striker Luca Navarro started out at a junior at Bolton Wanderers. He has just returned to Radcliffe from Stafford Rangers, after spells at Bamber Bridge and Atherton too.
Ben Rydel is a midfielder currently on loan from Salford City, after coming through their youth scheme.
Jordan Carroll is a midfielder who came to Radcliffe from Athlone Town in July, he has previously played in Ireland for various Academy sides.
Omar Ibrahim is a midfielder, but no other information seems to be available about him.
Also Radcliffe have had Bebelo Gomes, Zac Hutley, Tye Turner, Daniel Asam and Joe Frater in their first team squad this season, but there is no information whatsoever who they are?
Kick off as usual is at 3pm