Next Stop Stourbridge

by Peter Scherer

It’s off to Stourbridge on Saturday, as Mickleover face their penultimate away match of the season. But we have already faced the Glassboys twice this season, having lost 0-2 away in the FA Cup in September, before taking three points when they visited the Don Amott Arena in January.

The pressure is somewhat off for Mickleover having achieved a play-off place, but points to retain second place and guarantee a home advantage are still vital.

Our hosts have recent had a change of manager, with Darryl Knights and assistant Lewis Solly taking charge from last week.

They are currently 14th in the table and took their second win in the last 10 games last Saturday, beating Redditch 1-0 away from home.

Manager Knights is a former Ipswich Junior, who was capped by England at Under 16 and 17 and was loaned to Yeovil, before joining Kidderminster on his release.

Solihull was his next stop, then Newport and Solihull before returning to Kidderminster. After a spell at Tamworth, he had two years at Telford, before coming to Stourbridge in July 2020. He had been looking after the clubs Academy until his recent promotion.

Solly was both reserve goalkeeper and coach until he was made Knights assistant. An ex Wolves and Bury player, he played for Welshpool and Aberystwyth, before moving back to the Midlands with Stafford Rangers.

 He was then at Telford and Redditch and first came to Stourbridge in 2005 from Hednesford, staying eight years before moving to Rushall. He moved onto Worcester but had time out with an injury and has been back at Stourbridge since March 2021, having made over 350 appearances.

Goalkeeper Charlie Price is in his second spell at the club, having left to join Alvechurch in June 2016, before returning three years later. 

Defender Joel Kettle is in his second spell at the club too. He started out with Sutton Coldfield before joining Stourbridge in August 2014. His career then took him to Halesowen, Sutton Coldfield, Rushall, Solihull, Tamworth and Nuneaton, before joining our hosts at the start of last season from Bromsgrove. He is club captain.

Full back Jack Wilson was another signing from Bromsgrove back in September 2021. He had made 200 appearances before his move and had a brief loan spell at Lichfield City too.

Alex Prosser is an ex Aston Villa Junior. A midfielder, he was loaned to Brackley before a permanent move to Kidderminster. He started last season at Leamington, before joining the Glassboys on loan for the majority of 22/23. His move became permanent in July.

Centre back Harvey Portman started off at the War Memorial Ground, before leaving our hosts for Hednesford at the beginning of last year. After a few weeks at Bromsgrove he returned to Hednesford, but had planned to start this season at Stratford, until his return to Stourbridge came off.

Jessy Bavanganga is another centre back who came in pre-season from Leek Town. A former Stoke City Junior, he also had spell on loan at Abbey Hulton Utd.

Winger Nial Flint started his career at Shrewsbury Town, before going to Telford on his release. After stays at Scarborough and Matlock he spent the next few years in the Welsh League, firstly at Newtown and latterly at Cefn Druids and Aberystwyth, from where he joined our hosts pre-season.

Midfielder Brendon Daniels is an experienced midfielder who started out at the Academies of Crewe Alexandra, Leicester City and Blackburn Rovers.

His next club was Chester, moving on to Tamworth, Harrogate, Fylde and Alfreton, before being spotted by Port Vale. He was loaned to Altrincham and Telford, preceding a permanent move to the latter. He came to the Glassboys in August and has seven League One appearances on his CV. He also had a very short loan spell with Mickleover recently.

Originally a Walsall Junior, Midfielder Aaron Forde came to Stourbridge for the second time in pre-season. He joined Romulus after his Walsall release, moving on to Bedworth, Halesowen, Sutton Coldfield and Rushall, before joining the Glassboys in 2017.

After three years he moved to Nuneaton, being loaned to Sutton Coldfield, before his Stourbridge return.

Midfielder Jack Fletcher arrived in June from Tividale, after just one impressive season in senior football.

Midfielder Dexter Walters started at Romulus, he then moved on to Tamworth, and returned there after a short spell at Coventry City.

During his time at Tamworth he was loaned to Mickleover, but had three months at Stratford last year before arriving at Stourbridge in November.

Striker Luke Benbow has spent most of his career in the West Midlands, starting out at Solihull. After a spell at Redditch he made his first stop at Stourbridge in 2012 and stayed three years before moving to Hednesford.

A year later he came back for one season, before returning to Solihull, who loaned him back to Stourbridge. He came back permanently in July 2018, before a year at Nuneaton preceded his latest return to our hosts. He missed a number pf matches this season with a spinal stress fracture.

Left back Brad Bood is currently on loan from Telford Utd, having come through the Shropshire clubs youth scheme. 

Striker Ethan Freemantle is on loan too from Kidderminster. He has also been loaned to Gloucester City and Hereford and is a former Walsall Junior.

Midfielder Connor Stanley was a Christmas arrival, an ex Birmingham City and Manchester Utd junior he came from  Hereford. During his early career he was also loaned to Atlanta Utd in the US, before joining Bolton Wanderers on his release from Man Utd. 

He was then loaned to Bamber Bridge and FC United, before joining Hereford at the start of this season.

Bermudan international midfielder Milan Butterfield came from Robin Hood in his home country to join Walsall at the start of his career. After a loan at Rushall he joined Kidderminster on his release.

He then moved to Chesterfield, who loaned him to Guiseley, before a permanent move to Alfreton. After two years he moved to Nuneaton, where he started this season, before arriving at Stourbridge in January.

Attacking midfielder Koby Arthur was a Birmingham City Junior, after thy signed him from Woodford Utd. He was loaned to Lincoln City and Cheltenham before being released in 2017 to join Kidderminster.

He moved on to Dover Athletic, Maidenhead Utd and Hereford and was initially loaned to our hosts in January, before his stay became permanent.

Defender Joel Shambrook and midfielder Kian Ryley are both on loan from Solihull Moors. Ryley spent a month on loan at Mickleover earlier this season and has also had time at Hereford and Studley.

Striker Alfie Steward is a home grown who has recently made the first squad.

Kick off at the War Memorial Ground is 3pm, your ongoing support would be more than welcome.

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