To Be Or Not To Be? That Is The Question… As We Face Stratford Bards!

by Peter Scherer

Following last Saturday’s defeat at Stourbridge, Mickleover now need to dig deep to retain second place in the table. Telford are now just one point behind and it’s still mathematically possible for both Stratford Town and Leamington to catch us too.

Stratford are this weekends visitors to the Don Amott Arena and are currently fourth in the table, nine points behind, but have had a few slips too in the last few weeks. They have had four defeats in the last 10, including last Saturday’s home defeat to Redditch.

Ex Forest Junior midfielder and Bromsgrove manager Gavin Hurren has been in charge at Stratford since September 2022 and took them to 14th place last season.

First choice keeper Callum Smith only arrived in January from Boldmere St.Michaels, having started the season at Leamington. He has also played for Walsall Wood and Nuneaton.

His current deputy is Max Clutterbuck, who has come from the Bards own youth scheme.

Signed in August 2021, midfielder Dan Lafferty is a former Northern Ireland Under 17 International, who came through the ranks at Coventry City.

Centre back and current captain Paul McCone was a summer 2022 arrival from Halesowen. He started at Wolves and has also played for Stourbridge, Leamington, Hednesford, Telford and back to Stourbridge.

Lewis Ison is a defender signed from Hednesford in February 2023. He was picked up by Bristol Rovers from Coventry Utd, but then moved to Nuneaton before returning to Coventry.

Dan Vann is a centre back, having been at the club since July 2019 since arriving from Walsall. He was also loaned to Stafford, Matlock and Chasetown during his time with the Saddlers.

Striker Callum Ebanks ended last season on loan from Cheltenham and over the last two years he has also been loaned to Evesham, Bromsgrove, Eastleigh and Bath City. He returned to Stratford for the start of this season on a permanent basis and is a prolific goalscorer.

Alex Worley is a centre back that started out at Walsall. He was sent out on loan to Welsh Premier League side Haverfordwest, before joining Stourbridge on his release, where he spent last season. He came to Stratford at the start of this term.

Left back Chris Hussey has league two experience, but started out at Woking. AFC Wimbledon was his next stop, with a loan at Windsor & Eton, before joining Coventry City.

After another loan at Crewe Alexandra, he returned to AFC Wimbledon, but after six months came to Burton Albion. Bury, Sheffield Utd, Swindon, Cheltenham, Port Vale and Stockport all followed, before arriving at Walsall at the beginning of this season. He then came to Stratford inSeptember.

Defensive midfielder Dylan Barkers arrived from Hereford last October. After starting out at Solihull Moors, he moved on to Guiseley, Alvechurch and Cheltenham. He was then loaned back to Alvechurch, along with spells at Leamington, Gloucester and Maidstone. He started this season at Hereford before his move to our visitors.

Jack Storer is an experienced striker or midfielder. He played his junior football with Birmingham City, Shirley Town, Wolves, Paget Rangers and Stevenage, before a full time spell at Birmingham.

Loans at Yeovil, Gloucester City and Solihull Moors followed, before a permanent move to Patrick Thistle. After a spell at Redditch he came to Mickleover for a year, before moving onto Leamington.

Telford, Redditch, Gresley Rovers, Highgate and Stourport followed, before arriving at Stratford in November 2021. After eight months he returned to Highgate, but spent the early part of last year with Bruno’s Magpies in Gibraltar. He came back to Stratford pre-season.

Centre back Liam Daly arrived from Rushall Olympic last July, but most of his experience has been at National League level. Starting out at Evesham, he played for Corby, Redditch, Solihull, Halesowen, Leamington and Barwell, before returning to Solihull for a five-year spell.

Gloucester, Barnet, Stourbridge, Nuneaton, Kettering and Ilkeston followed, before his move to Rushall.

Striker Andre Landell was signed from Rushall last month, where he had been since August 2022. Originally a Wolves Junior, Bath City and Rushall were his first stops following his release. He then spent four years in the US with Tiffin Dragons and Michigan Bucks, before joining Rushall again on his return.

Stops at Alvechurch, Stourbridge, Bromsgrove and Hednesford followed, before his third spell at Rushall.

Josh Hawker is a central midfielder and ex Birmingham City youngster. He joined Leamington on his release and had three years at Halesowen before coming to Stratford for the first time. He went back to Halesowen for the start of this season, but returned to the Bards again after four months.

Midfielder Charlie Williams was signed in March 2023 after being released by Burton Albion. He was previously loaned to Leamington, Banbury and Redditch.

Fellow midfielder Callum Coyle is on loan from Rushall Olympic. He started out at Solihull Moors and was loaned to Sutton Coldfield, Romulus, Nuneaton, Halesowen and Grantham, before joining Stafford Rangers on his release. He then moved to Rushall in August 2021.

Tyrell Skeen-Hamilton is a striker that played his junior football with Birmingham City and AFC Bournemouth. He was loaned to Salisbury and Gosport Borough, before joining Alvechurch on his release. He then joined Telford but was loaned back to Alvechurch. He started this season at Alvechurch, but quickly moved on to  Banbury,  Rushall and Redditch, before joining our visitors last month.

Striker or winger Troy Smikle-Jones came to our visitors last month, after being released by Everton.

Lewis Wilson is a well-travelled wing back who started his career at Rushden & Diamonds.  Northampton Town then signed him after a spell at Newport Pagnell and he made eight League Two appearances, as well as being loaned to Kettering and Bishops Stortford.

Whitehawk, Oxford City, Arlesey Town, Rushden, St.Neots and Cambridge City followed before he came to Stratford in August 2018. He then joined Banbury before rejoining Stratford, and was then loaned to Macclesfield.

Kettering, Nuneaton and Hendon were next before a third stopat Stratford in 2021. He started this season at Newport Pagnell again, before his fourth return to Stratford.

Finally Troy-Mackenzie-Lamb is a young defender, on loan from Peterborough Utd.

Kick off is t 3pm and your support is more than welcome.

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