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CURRENT NEWS IN FULL



2 September 2014

NON-LEAGUE DAY OFFER

The annual Non-League Day this year is on Saturday, 6 September, when Altrincham entertain Dartford (3pm). For this match, holders of valid season tickets from Premiership or Football League clubs will be admitted to the J. Davidson Stadium for just £5.

DARTFORD GAME

Altrincham entertain Dartford at the J. Davidson Stadium this Saturday (3pm). Mike Garnett provides the details of previous meeetings between Altrincham and Dartford

  • At Altrincham: P3-W2-D1-L0-F4-A1
  • At Dartford: P5-W1-D0-L4-F4-A8
  • All games: P8-W3-D1-L4-F8-A9

Howard Watts provides the Through the Years record of previous Altrincham games on 6 September.

YOUTH TEAM'S BIG WIN

Altrincham FC Youth gained their first win of the season in some style on Sunday, defeating Barrow, 10-0 in the NWYA Premier League. For the first time this season manager George Heslop had more or less all of his squad available following the holiday period.

Reece Dwyer netted six times, the other goals coming from Harry Cain, Sam Heathcote (penalty), Will Foster and Shaun Arrowsmith. The win was achieved despite injuries; Will Foster suffered a broken arm and Aaron Goldman received a fiercely struck ball in the face.

The team was: 1. Jamie Burrows, 2. James Campion, 3. Jake Foy, 4. Cole McGrath, 5. Sam Heathcote (capt), 6. Laurence Taylor, 7. Shaun Arrowsmith, 8. William Foster, 9. Marc Bellingham, 10. Reece Dwyer, 11. Harry Cain. Subs, all used: 12. Tryevon Simpson, 14. Obajimi Folagbade, 15. Joseph Coffey, 16. Aaron Goldman, 17. Benjamin Reid.

LEE REMAINS CONFIDENT

Altrincham FC joint Press Officer, John Edwards, writes:

"Altrincham are looking to hit the heights on and off the pitch after drawing up plans to make the most of Non-League Day at the J.Davidson Stadium on Saturday.

A gap in the Barclays Premier League and Championship fixture list, caused by midweek internationals, has given non-League clubs the chance of a day in the limelight, and Alty are determined not to miss out, as they prepare to host Dartford in the Vanarama Conference (3pm).

Left: Lee Sinnott.

They are offering £5 admission for Premier League or Championship season-ticket holders, on production of their season tickets, and are targeting youngsters in the area to try and ensure Non-League Day is marked by a carnival atmosphere inside the ground.

Club bosses have already distributed tickets to many local schools but are still encouraging anyone interested in the scheme to contact the office, on 928 1045, to discover how parents can gain entry for £5, with under-12s admitted free.

On the field, manager Lee Sinnott is urging his players to respond to the anticipated bumper turnout by rediscovering their ‘spark’ after slipping to a 2-1 defeat at Nuneaton last Saturday.

‘We have had plenty of possession in just about every game so far, but outcomes are decided by what you do with it,’ he said. ‘We fizzled out once we got to the final third at Nuneaton, and that was disappointing.

‘The game was there for the taking, but we failed to ignite. There was a lack of spark. For all the link-up play we’ve been producing, we’ve got to be more decisive in the final third.

‘We managed to reduce the arrears with what was a well-crafted goal, but it was too little too late. Offensively, we didn’t get out of second gear. We had enough of the ball to have been able to ask questions of them, but you have to go through the gears.

‘These players are better than they are showing at the moment. Whether it is psychological or not, I don’t know, but we are going to have to work on that and start producing what we are capable of. Once we get into our groove, we will pick up points and improve our position in the table.’"

NUNEATON COMMENTARY

Brian Flynn advises us that the Radio Robins commentary on the Nuneaton game is here.

Altrincham FC Ladies' season starts on Wednesday, 3 September with a home game against against Wythenshawe Amateurs at Mersey Valley Sports Club, Banky Lane, Ashton on Mersey, k.o. 6.30pm. Spectators are very welcome.

VANARAMA CONFERENCE NEWS

The Football Conference says that "AFC Telford United have agreed a loan deal with Vanarama Conference rivals Kidderminster Harriers for midfielder Josh O'Keefe. The 6'3", 25-year-old has previously had spells at Walsall, Hereford United and Lincoln City.

He has been signed for one month due to the Bucks having a number of injuries and suspensions to their current central midfield players."

Elsewhere "Alfreton Town`s manager Nicky Law has strengthened his squad ahead of his return to the dug-out after serving a six-match suspension. The Reds' boss has signed former Nottingham Forest central defender Lawrence Gorman on non-contract terms. Gorman, 19, began with Forest as a youngster and progressed to be capped by England at both under-16 and under-17 levels.

As well as playing in central defence, Gorman has also played right-back on several occasions. Law is hopeful of adding more players to his squad ahead of the transfer deadline".

And, "Macclesfield Town have taken a second player on loan from Stoke City, who play under-21 matches at the Moss Rose. Joining 20-year-old winger Adam Thomas is Manchester-born defender Alex Grant, also 20, who actually began his career at Joondalup Soccer Club in Western Australia but returned to join Portsmouth as a 16-year-old.

Although never playing for the Pompey senior side, he spent time on loan at both Havant & Waterlooville and Eastleigh as a teenager. Released from Portsmouth he joined Stoke in 2013 and has been a regular for the club’s under-21 side as well as having attracted attention of Australia at under-17 level... Both [players] join until the end of December."

According to the BBC "Johnny Hunt is returning to Wrexham on loan until January. The 24-year-old left Wrexham in the summer for Cambridge United, but has yet to play for the League Two outfit. Now the Dragons have swooped to bring back the player who made more than 100 appearances for the club before his departure. Liverpool-born Hunt can play across the midfield or at left-back and scored 11 goals in 42 Conference Premier games last season. "

He played against Altrincham at the weekend and was booked but Nuneaton Town Meanwhile, "Defender Delroy Gordon has agreed to join Hereford United on loan. He will be with the Bulls for an initial one month loan to get some games under his belt after which he will hopefully return to Boro".

The Times Series reports that it "understands that contrary to reports by Sky Sports News, Blackpool have not made an offer for Barnet's Keanu Marsh-Brown. Marsh-Brown, who was subject of several bids at the end of last week, has been linked with a move to the Tangerines this afternoon but The Times Series understands the Championship side have not submitted an offer for the 22-year-old.

Speaking ahead of Saturday's game, head coach Martin Allen revealed Marsh-Brown had been left at home after the club received offers which needed to be 'considered' by chairman Tony Kleanthous. He said, 'I had a chat with the chairman on Thursday; some offers have come into the chairman that he feels need to be considered. They’ve not been finalised yet but on Friday morning we had another meeting and we thought it would be the best interests for the football club, the team and also, of course, considering Keanu’s position, that he would be left at home this weekend, with the view to something maybe happening at the beginning of the week'.

Marsh-Brown has made one start and three substitute appearances for the Bees this season, scoring goals against Chester and Lincoln City."

On Monday at Bristol Rovers When the window shuts I am still out looking at players; managers don’t stand still. The window opens in a loan capacity after a week anyway. My players have to be at it, as I won’t wait round and I will always be looking for players to improve the team'.

The manager also confirmed that “Jamie Turley is still training with us, and that is still on the cards for when he is fit... I think it is important that we have a bit of a settling down period now, and start building momentum in the league and get focussed on winning football matches... There was such a turnover of players in the summer and it takes a bit of time to gel, but we were very disappointed as a group with how the first week went.

I treat every game as a new project. The last three games I haven’t had to make too many changes, that is not because we have done well, but it was the fact that I thought it was the best system and team to win that football match... We have two players away on international duty now, but it is great for the club that we have some internationals in the team'.

And... Darrell said, 'We have got a behind-closed-door friendly with Newport County tomorrow morning for some of the boys who need to get some minutes under their belts".

From the BBC we learn that "Gateshead have signed former Forest Green Rovers and Wrexham and striker Danny Wright. The 29-year-old has signed a contract until the end of the season after featuring in Gateshead's 2-1 win over Chester on Saturday.

Wright was released by Forest Green Rovers on Friday and becomes the Tynesiders' 10th signing this summer. 'It was disappointing not to play for Forest Green but I feel sharp and ready to hit the ground running', he said. Wright left the New Lawn 12 months into a two-year deal after scoring eight goals in 40 games".


1 September 2014

LADIES WIN

Altrincham FC Ladies won their final pre-season game on Sunday, 4-3. They were away to Winsford United who play in the NW Women's Regional League, a level two steps higher than where Alty Ladies competed last season.

The Altrincham Ladies' goals came from Georgina Plant, Tracey Blanchard-Webb (2) and Aimee Gibson. Goalkeeper Lizzie Brereton saved a penalty which ensured the victory. A report on the game from Phil Taylor will follow in the near future.

NEXT SATURDAY

  • AFC Telford Utd v Dover Athletic
  • Altrincham v Dartford
  • Barnet v Alfreton Town
  • Braintree Town v Bristol Rovers
  • Chester FC v Macclesfield Town
  • Eastleigh v Southport
  • FC Halifax Town v Aldershot Town
  • Forest Green Rovers v Wrexham
  • Grimsby Town v Welling United
  • Kidderminster Harriers v Gateshead
  • Torquay United v Nuneaton Town
  • Woking v Lincoln City
  • Through the Years by Howard Watts.

31 August 2014

NUNEATON TOWN 2 ALTRINCHAM 1

A late goal from Damian Reeves was not enough for Altrincham. Match report here.

Right: Scott Leather heads clear at Nuneaton

After the game, Lee Sinnott told the NL Paper, "We had a lot of possession but things petered out a bit in the final third today. If you're not going to ask enough questions, you're not going to get the answers that you want. We didn't show that spark.

I felt the game was there for us today. We could play fifty of these games and it would be split between wins for both teams. It's a long season and we've got 40 games left, so it's important that the players keep the right mental approach.

It's important we don't let it become like a ton of bricks on our backs.

This team is capable of scoring goals and we will get better as the season goes on. If we do that, we'll get more points".

Brian Flynn's post-match interview with the Altrincham manager is here.

And Nuneaton Town reports that "Nuneaton grabbed their first win and goals of the season with a 2-1 win over Altrincham. Brian Reid had opted to abandon his 3-5-2 formation after it had brought no goals in the previous five outings of the season, not that it seemed to matter in the opening 20 minutes.

The Boro failed to create an opening, but nor did Altrincham, in what can only be described as a stale start to the match...But, with the switch to four across the middle giving the Boro a lot more width, Brown was finally starting to get the service he has been waiting for this season.

In the 36th minute he took full advantage of that fact as the number ten rose magnificently in the area and slammed home a wonderful cross from deep by Ben Starosta... The tension visibly lifted from the Nuneaton players after the goal as the touch that had eluded one or two of them in the opening month of the season suddenly returned.

They did not create any further chances of note in the half, but they played with a fluidity that had been missing at times this season...

Boro grabbed their second goal after 67 minutes, and it came about after some lovely play by substitute Adam Walker... It was cleared by the defence, but only as far as Jack Dyer, the former Burton Albion man showing remarkable composure to side foot the ball past Parton from 20-yards out.

Boro were coasting at this point, so it was against the run of play when Damian Reeves halved the deficit with time running out. Former Boro man Kyle Perry was involved in the goal and it was his through ball that found Reeves in the box. The Altrincham frontman did the rest, slamming home past Charles-Cook with a venomous effort".

SATURDAY GAMES & GATES

Saturday 30th August
  • Aldershot Town 2-1 Grimsby Town (Gate 1998)
  • Alfreton Town 0-2 Braintree Town (464)
  • Bristol Rovers 2-1 FC Halifax Town (5394)
  • Dartford 2-1 AFC Telford United (923)
  • Dover Athletic 0-1 Kidderminster Harriers (833)
  • Gateshead 2-1 Chester(1138)
  • Lincoln City 1-3 Torquay United (2373)
  • Macclesfield Town 2-0 Eastleigh (1284)
  • Nuneaton Town 2-1 Altrincham (774)
  • Southport 0-2 Barnet (909)
  • Welling United 1-1 Forest Green Rovers (501)
  • Wrexham 1-2 Woking (3154)

RESERVES LOSE IN CUP

Altrincham FC Reserves of The Hallmark Security Cheshire Football League Division Two lost 0-5 at home to Congleton Vale in a cup match on Saturday.

VANARAMA CONFERENCE NEWS

Alty's next opponents entertain Dartford on Saturday. In the Shropshire Star says that "A second-half double sent AFC Telford to a fourth defeat of the season at fellow Conference Premier strugglers, Dartford. The Bucks had led at the break through Tony Gray's 35th minute finish but Luke Daley and Andy Pugh struck twice in 12 minutes after the break to turn the game on its head...

Telford should have gone 2-0 up soon after the re-start though when Rod McDonald headed against the bar from close range. But the hosts levelled from Daley's incisive 20-yard finish on 52 minutes... Pugh put them in front from close range on 64 minutes..

Telford had a decent penalty appeal turned down... But Farrell had to head a Lee Noble free-kick off the line at the other end and only a Hedge save prevented substitute Harry Crawford from settling the game in the final minute of normal time".


30 August 2014

NUNEATON TOWN v ALTRINCHAM: MATCH COVERAGE

You can follow the Nuneaton Town v Altrincham game on Saturday (3pm) via this website's minute by minute updates or via Radio Robins. Click on the appropriate icon below to go to your preferred means of following the game. For Twitter and Facebook links see the side panel, right.

updatesPC updatesMOBI radiorobins

On the developing Altrincham FC mobile website, as well as the Matchday Updates, you will now find an increasing number of mobile-friendly pages; the most recent additions are Sponsorship and Fundraising/Advertising pages. The Desktop version of the website has its own versions of all of the mobile-format pages.

Brian Flynn adds that "Radio Robins, sponsored by Ashley Mowers Garden Machinery, will be broadcasting full live coverage of Saturday's game at Nuneaton.

The match commentary sponsors are John Green Professional Editing Services. For all your editing and proofreading needs. Anything from novels, to essays, to football programmes. Contact John by e-mail. The commentators are Ian Watmore and Ian Wilkinson with match summaries from Brian Flynn.

Coverage starts at 2.50pm with the game kicking off at 3pm. You can listen to Radio Robins on the internet at www.radiorobins.com

Leah and Simon Brotherton will be providing regular updates on Twitter (@altrinchamfc) as well as half-time & full time updates on facebook (Altrincham FC)".

Mike Garnett reminds us of previous encounters between the two sides:

  • At Altrincham: P1-W1-D0-L0-F2-A0
  • Away: P1-W0-D0-L1-F1-A2
  • Overall: P2-W1-D0-L1-F3-A2

Nuneaton Town play at Liberty Way, Nuneaton, Warks, CV11 6RR. The club advises that prices are:

  • Adults £14 (aged 17 or over),
  • Juniors £3 (16 and under)
  • Transfer to the Main Stand seats, if required, is an additional £2, which is paid within the ground.

NUNEATON SIGNINGS

On the eve of the match, Nuneaton Towm announced that "Boro will be hoping for their first goals, and victory, of the season on Saturday as Altrincham are the visitors to the James Parnell Stadium (kick off 3pm).

Boss Brian Reid welcomes back Andy Brown and Anton Brown, who missed Monday's defeat at Braintree, but will be without striker Ben Hutchinson, who starts his suspension following his sending off in the same match.

Reid said, 'Every match is a big game for me, it does not matter who we are playing. Four of the five sides we have faced so far are up towards the top of the table, which shows how much of a tough start we have had, but we now really need to start getting the ball in the net and points on the board. It is still very, very early in the season, and despite our poor start, I am sure we can start climbing up the table very soon'.

But it will be a case of fingers crossed and wait and see as the club face a race against time to get international clearance for their two new signings. Midfielder Lee Fowler joins from Welsh outfit Druids, while attacker Craig Curran has joined from Limerick.

Fowler, 31, has a wealth of experience in the Conference Premier, having previously played at this level for sides such as Kettering, Oxford United, Fleetwood, Kidderminster Harriers and Forest Green. Curran, 25, has around 160 Football League appearances to his name, having spent spells with Tranmere Rovers, Carlisle United and Rochdale before joining Limerick.

Reid said, '"The chairman and the chief executive have been really supportive. They knew I wanted to bring in some more quality, and they have backed me all the way. These are the calibre of players I have been working really hard to bring to the club and I am delighted they have joined. We are still waiting for clearance for both of them, but it is no secret we were looking for a striker and, when Lee became available, the board backed me to bring him in too!

We needed to boost the squad as Magno Viera is due to return to Forest Green at the end of his loan spell, and Hutchinson is suspended. We have had a few issues with fitness and injuries, and now a suspension, and we had to address that and I am pleased with the business we have done.

Curran is a player I spoke to a few weeks ago about coming on board. I am very good friends with Stuart Taylor, who was his manager at Limerick, and he urged me to have a look at him. I actually think his signing is a coup for the club. He is a strong, aggressive player and has good league experience and now, hopefully, we will see some quality finishing to put away the chances we create. He really is a great player and I think he will do very well for us'".

OLD BOYS

In the EvoStik League, Glossop North End have signed Tom Bailey, whilst Northwich Flixton Villa have acquired the services of Lewis Chalmers and Andrew Jones.

ALTRINCHAM TODAY

Brian Flynn advises that 'Altrincham Today' is a new website that has launched today [Friday] that will feature a weekly column by Lee Sinnott. Lee's article is here".

VANARAMA CONFERENCE NEWS

"The directors of Kidderminster Harriers Football Club Limited have announced that they are looking for fresh investors in the Club to support the playing budget set for 2014/15.

The Club is relatively unusual in that it has no controlling shareholder. The top eight shareholders, who control 92% of the issued shares, all own more than 5% but no individual owns more than 24%.

The Club are currently unbeaten after five matches in the Football Conference Premier division and are actively seeking to return to the Football League following the five years in Division 2 of the Football League from 2000 to 2005.

Ken Rae, the Club Chairman said 'We are looking for investors who want to share the journey with us to achieve our aim of getting promoted back into the Football League. If an investor wants an active involvement in the running of the Club the existing directors would welcome them on board, so long as their aims and aspirations are for the long term benefit of Kidderminster Harriers. If a more non–executive role was preferred, that would also be acceptable.

Four directors have resigned from the Club in 2014 and, unfortunately, that has substantially reduced new funds into the Club and monies we believed were available to us when setting this year’s budgets have not as yet materialised. The Aggborough ground is licensed for 6,444 and is well appointed. The only expense necessary, if the Club were promoted, is to change the bulbs in the floodlights to improve the lux readings and some minor alterations to the dressing room areas'.

Finance Director Joe Hancox said, 'At the present moment the Club has no substantial debt and, at today’s date, has no arrears of PAYE or VAT. However, new funds will be needed in 2014/15 if the playing squad assembled is to remain together for the remainder of the current season. The directors have known for some time of the financial challenge and are committed to continue taking whatever decisive actions are necessary to make the financial adjustments needed".

The Football Conference says that "Chris Kinnear, manager of Dover Athletic, has bolstered his defensive options with signing of Tom Bonner from Cambridge United. The 26-year-old joins on loan until January 17th. Bonner played forty-two games for Dartford in the 2012/13 season, and joined Cambridge United when his contract at Prince's Park expired.

With the 'U's he made thirteen appearances and had started all four of their matches in League Two this season".

Meanwhile, "Lincoln City have taken striker Delano Sam-Yorke back on loan until January 17th from Cambridge United. Recruited by the 'U's from Basingstoke Town on a one-year deal prior to the 2013/14 campaign, Sam-Yorke is a quick and powerful forward with an eye for goal".

Elsewhere, "Macclesfield Town and Scunthorpe United have reached an agreement to extend the loan spell of [ex-Alty loanee] Luke Waterfall for a further month. The defender has impressed fans and management alike with his sterling defensive displays at the Moss Rose so far this season as he has been a key part of the defence which has seen three clean sheets in five games with the Silkmen unbeaten in those opening five games".

The news from Forest Green Rovers is that "Rovers and Danny Wright have come to an agreement for the front man to leave The New Lawn. Wright signed a two year deal with Rovers in May 2013, after joining as a free agent from Wrexham, but has fallen down the pecking order with the arrival of Lee Hughes and Jon Parkin, and has failed to make an appearance this season.

The 29-year-old... started his career at Histon FC, helping the part-timers rise through the leagues while continuing to work as a carpenter... He switched to local rivals Cambridge United for the 2010-11 season... before a two-year stint at Wrexham brought another 24 goals".

Still at FGR, "Rovers and Al Bangura have today agreed to part ways with the midfielder’s contract being cancelled by mutual consent. Signed in July 2011, Bangura... featured 91 times in all competitions, having joined as a free agent after a spell playing in Azerbaijan with Gabala...

A couple of major knee injuries scuppered his early progress at The New Lawn, however he featured heavily in the Rovers midfield over the past two seasons. The former Sierra Leone international was yet to make an appearance this season".


29 August 2014

TASC TRANSPORT TO NUNEATON

TASC is running a supporters' coach to the game at Nuneaton Town on Saturday. Full details are on the Away Travel page. To book your seat, please ring the club today (Friday)on 0161 928-1045 during normal office hours.

VANARAMA CONFERENCE NEWS

News of our next opponents comes from the Nuneaton News to the effect that "Brian Reid has admitted the start to the season for Nuneaton is the toughest time he has faced as a manager. The Boro have got off to a bad start to the 2014/15 season, drawing one game and losing four.

The five games have yielded no goals for the Boro... He said: "There is no doubt that this is my toughest spell in management. I have never experienced anything like this before. I have had bad runs and that, you know two or three games without a win, but nothing on this scale. I have certainly not gone this amount of games without seeing my team score a goal. That is obviously a concern'.

Despite seeing his team hit the back of the net in one of the eight games he has taken charge of so far at the Boro, Reid is adamant, though, that he can turn things round. He said, 'I have got a lot of belief in my own ability and what I can do here. That has not changed. I know there are reasons for this run. Things we can work on. One thing that certainly has not helped us is not having a settled team.

For one reason or another we have had to chop and change a lot since I have got here and that has not helped anyone if I am being honest. For instance take Bank Holiday Monday. We lost the two Browns and that really hit us. One was off sick and the other had to get off the coach for family reasons. We cannot do anything about that but it left us weaker. It was just bad luck'...

He said: "I think as well as a goal we also need a bit of luck this season; if we never had any bad luck we would have no luck at all in a way. Things just have not gone our way at all. Whether that is injuries, suspensions, players missing, refereeing decisions, nothing seems to be going our way... Take Saturday, for instancem against Barnet. We had the penalty really early on, which was never a penalty, and that completely turned the game. We then had the red-card on Monday which did the same thing'".

Elsewhere the Nuneaton News adds that 'Exodus Geohaghan believes his past experiences show that all is not lost for the Boro this season. Geohaghon made his debut for Brian Reid's side on Bank Holiday Monday, looking assured at the back... The towering centre-back is... adamant that a five game winless run is nothing to get carried away with.

Geohaghon said, 'I am no stranger to this division. I have played for a few clubs at this level before... That is why I am not worried by how Nuneaton have started. I was at Kidderminster a few years ago. They lost the first five games that season and then went on to finish in second place... Nothing is decided in the first games in the season...

He added, 'The boys here had a really, really good run last year. I think what they have to do is get back to that'...

Geohaghon's arrival at the Boro came as a shock to many people... He said, 'The new people upstairs knew me from my time at Kettering... I was here for a couple of weeks and the gaffer obviously liked what he saw as he offered me something'... The defender is known for being able to launch the ball into the penalty area from anywhere in the opposition half...

He said, 'It is a weapon teams have used in the past. In all honesty, though, it can be exhausting doing that all of the time. I prefer to think about my defending and what I can do on that front'". The Football Conference says that "Vanarama, sponsors of the Football Conference, is pleased to announce they will be bringing innovations into play in recognition of performances and commitments both on the field and off it during the coming season, through a number of awards to be made at various times.

There will be four named categories of awards and these are outlined with given criteria.

VANARAMA 'MANAGER OF THE MONTH'

As in previous seasons a recipient will be selected and an announcement made at the end of every calendar month of the chosen manager from each of the three Vanarama divisions. Nomination and final selection will be vested in an independent awards panel featuring representatives from Vanarama, the media, SportQuake and the Football Conference. The award will no longer be based solely on a points system of team performance of wins.

The criterion change will enable any manager to be considered, allowing a more pragmatic approach to allow recognition of true worthiness and not just solely aligned to team performance of winning more matches than any other club. This new system permits more freedom of choice in recognition, which it is believed is much fairer.

Presentations will be made to the respective winners by a representative of the sponsors Vanarama at the first home match after the announcement of the winner. As in the past, annual awards in this category will be made at the end of the season.

VANARAMA 'PLAYER OF THE MONTH'

In a similar approach of selection in this category, the new system wishes to move away from the recipient being a player who invariably scores most goals in a month. To aid this decision making, prior to final selection of a player every month from each division, an initial nomination list will be submitted of three players in each division, by a group of journalists who follow Vanarama Conference football week in, week out. The final decision will again be vested in the awards panel.

Once again it is felt to be a fairer representation of individual contribution to team performance rather than who just scores. It will permit consideration of an outstanding single event which might arise and allow recognition for goalkeepers, defenders and other players to be considered in the equation for nomination and final selection.

This procedure will not affect the annual selection of players nominated by divisional managers which make up the respective 'Team of the Year' in each division. Neither will the 'Golden Boot' award in each division be affected for the top goalscorer.

Presentations will be made to the respective winners by a representative of the sponsors Vanarama at the first home match after the announcement of the winner.

VANARAMA 'PIC OF THE MONTH'

A new award for the best action photograph taken on a selected competition match day every month has been trialled, with the first winner for August being Matt Bradshaw of cornerflagimages.com, who is the Club Photographer of Chelmsford City.

This new award caters for an important area of match contribution which previously has gone unrecognised.

A strict entry criterion is in place, though the award is open to anyone who is a licensed photographer, registered with the Football Conference.

From one photograph submitted by each entrant, eight will be chosen for publication on the Conference WebApp for a period of four weeks and from those eight Vanarama will select an overall winner, who will receive a framed certificate on velum with a copy of the photograph.

At the end of the season each member club will be invited to submit their own personal selected photograph for display, from which one will be chosen as 'Pic of the Year' by an independent and professional sports photographer.

VANARAMA 'CLUB AMBASSADOR'

In recognition of the sterling work carried out by clubs in their community and in particular the support of club projects funded in conjunction with the Football Conference Community Trust, nominations each quarter will be made to a selection panel from the Trust, to decide the recipient of this new award.

It is the fervent wish of Vanarama this special award will encourage even more playing personnel and management staff at clubs to give some quality time to embrace an important aspect of club engagement in their community.

An overall 'Ambassador of the Year' will be selected and this award will be presented at the Vanarama Conference Gala Awards Evening in June 2015".

According to the Football Conference, "Goalkeeper Freddy Hall has announced that he has left Chester FC. Hall, who has played in four of Chester's five league matches, spent pre-season with Steve Burr's side after being released by Burton Albion and had hoped to earn a contract after John Danby left the club last week.

But a deal has failed to materialise and Hall announced that he has decided to leave. It leaves Burr with just one recognised `keeper in Jon Worsnop, who has been forced to be content with a place on the substitutes’ bench after the 5-0 thumping by Barnet on the opening day of the season".

However, "Busy Steve Burr... has now added Jadan Hall on loan from Burnley. Manchester-born Hall, 20, spent almost ten years with Blackburn Rovers and had a season with Stoke City before moving to Turf Moor last summer... Hall, who can play up front or out wide, has joined on an initial one-month loan and will be in the squad to face Gateshead on Saturday...

He becomes the second new addition to the squad in quick succession after the arrival of former Cheltenham Town goalkeeper Connor Roberts".

From NL Daily, we learn that "Wessex League clubs have voted to reject Salisbury City's application to join their ranks. It leaves The Whites with no league to play in following their expulsion from the Football Conference. With a winding-up petition to face on September 1, their very existence is under threat.

An SWL statement issued after tonight's EGM at Totton & Eling Sports club read, '"The Sydenhams Football League (Wessex) was approached by Salisbury City, with the agreement of the Football Association, with regard to the club joining the league, despite the season having commenced, to assist the club in playing competitive football. The league has met with the club but cannot see that the club has a structure in place, on or off the pitch, to compete in the league, whilst the on-going court cases place a question mark over any long term involvement with the league. The league, along with its clubs, has therefore rejected the club's application'".

News of a summer trialist at Altrincham comes from NL Pitchero, which says that "Stalybridge Celtic have announced the signing of central midfielder Wade Joyce. Joyce, 20... joins Celtic from St Johnstone".

He played against Alty on Monday but now NL Pitchero confirms that "Gateshead`s forward Marcus Maddison has signed for Peterborough United on a permanent deal. The 20-year-old leaves the International Stadium for a club record fee, and the sizeable six-figure sum is likely to rise due to various add-ons.

The Heed also have a 20 per cent sell-on clause for Maddison, who has agreed a four-year contract with Posh.

Gateshead manager Gary Mills is sad to see the player depart but will look to sign a replacement before the transfer window closes... He said... 'Now he has sorted himself out, mentally, we're seeing the best of him... I have attacking players here but will also look to go out and maybe bring in one or two to strengthen the squad'.

Maddison joined Gateshead in August last year and went on to make thirty-eight appearances, scoring 14 times... The former Newcastle United trainee, who has also played for Blyth Spartans and St Johnstone, won Conference player of the month for January and earned England `C` honours at the end of the campaign...

The Heed boss said, 'Our two top scorers last season, Marcus, and James Marwood, are now playing in League One and the Scottish Premiership, respectively... I honestly believe if I hadn't come in to the club last September, they would be in the Northern Premier Division now'".

FA CUP

The EvoStik League says that "Rainworth Miners Welfare will be even more determined to make sure that they aren’t the victims of an FA Cup giant-killing this weekend after learning that they are flying the flag for the EvoStik League in a special programme on the world’s oldest cup competition.

The Football Association has commissioned media partners Input Media to produce a programme for release around the world before the First Round proper kicks-off in November and the Wrens are set to play a starring role when they kick-off on Saturday in their Preliminary Round tie against Staveley Miners.

Producers were attracted by the meeting of the two clubs originally founded by miners and as well as the action at Kirklington Road, including a brass band on the pitch before kick-off, film crews are set to record interviews with officials, supporters and feature the heritage and backgrounds of both clubs for the FA's preview show".


28 August 2014

SOAKED FOR A GREAT CAUSE

Above, captured by Altrincham FC official Photographer at half-time on Monday, Gavin Rathbone, of GR Photography, we see, left, chairman Grahame Rowley and, right, referee Anthony Taylor, undergoing the Ice Bucket Challenge from two men who seem to be getting more pleasure from the event than perhaps they should have done! The "torturers" are former Alty captain Mark Maddox and ex-player and manager of the Club, Graham Heathcote.

Funds raised from the event are being donated to the Motor Neurone Disease Association. For more on Mark's amazing campaign for the MNDA, visit here.

GATESHEAD MATCH HIGHLIGHTS FROM ALTY TV

Alty TV has highlights of the Altrincham v Gatehead game; see adjacent panel.

The Radio Robins' commentary on the game is here.

SPOTLIGHT ON JAMES LAWRIE

In each "Robins' Review" this season, joint Press and Media Officer, John Edwards, conducts a Q&A with a member of the playing or coaching staff. Today [last Monday], it’s the turn of James Lawrie (below, right), who describes how he chased Giuseppe Rossi down the tunnel at the end of his Northern Ireland debut and why the Falklands conflict has special significance for his family.

Q:Who did you support as a kid?

A: I’ve always supported Manchester United. My granddad on my mum’s side was from Manchester, as is she, and whenever we went up to see him, he always got me involved with United and how they were doing. It was the early 90s, so it was an exciting time to be a United fan. That was some team.

Q:A Favourite player?

A: Growing up, I loved Peter Schmeichel, because I used to enjoy going in nets and throwing myself around, if I had a kick-around with my mates. But I’d probably go for Eric Cantona, who was a bit special in a really outstanding team.

Q:A What do you get up to away from Alty?

A: I like walking my dog and spending time with my nephews and nieces and with my girlfriend Liberty. I’ve got a 10-month old Labrador called Ralph, who’s class. He’s lively and energetic and needs plenty of exercise, but that’s fine by me. I live in Middlewich, and I’m usually up at 5-ish so I can give him a good hour’s walk before going to work. Job-wise, I work for a firm of sports floor specialists. We work on tennis courts, doing line marking and sanding and cleaning surfaces, mostly the all-weather tarmac ones. It tends to be pretty hectic, and it can take us anywhere in the country. We keep it local as much as possible, but, the other week, we were in Milford Haven in South Wales, so it can involve a fair bit of travelling. My boss is understanding about Alty and takes into account that Tuesdays and Thursdays are training nights, and that there might be a midweek game. He tries to work jobs around that, which is good of him.

Right; Pictured by Gavin Rathbone of GR Phorography, is James Lawrie in action against Gateshead.

Q:A Best moment in football?

A: The Guiseley game was a bit special, but I’d have to say winning my first Northern Ireland cap. I was actually born in Dundonald, a suburb of Belfast, when my dad was in the Forces and based over there. When I was doing well for Port Vale, someone who knew someone at the Irish FA told them about me, and I found myself being picked for the under-17s, then under-19s and then under-21s. It was just a case of progressing through the ranks, really, and my opportunity at senior level came when a few of the senior players didn’t travel for an end-of-season friendly against Italy in Pisa. Nigel Worthington called up a few of the under- 21s, me included, and that was the first of my three caps. We lost 3-0, but being on the same pitch as players like Gennaro Gattuso and Giuseppe Rossi was an unbelievable experience. I always loved watching Rossi at United. He didn’t get that much of a chance at Old Trafford, but you could still see he was a good player. So at the final whistle, I literally ran down the tunnel after him to make sure I got his jersey. I’d forgotten he was an American-Italian and got a surprise when I asked him, and he just said: ‘Yeah, sure.’ Then I joined the rest of the lads on the pitch, applauding the fans who had travelled. I’ ll never forget it.

Q:A Worst moment?

A: Being released by Port Vale. I wasn’t really in Micky Adams’ plans, which was unfortunate, because I started at Vale at 10 years old and spent a good chunk of my life there. I enjoyed it and would loved to have spent longer there. I remember we had a Staffs Senior Cup final against Newcastle Town on the Monday. It was basically a reserve team, we got battered 6-1 and he came in and said he wanted all of us in the following day.

Simon Richman was there as well, and a good number of us got told we weren’t being kept on, when we showed up the next morning. I don’t think that one game had a bearing on his decision. He’d probably already made his mind up, but it didn’t do much for his mood! It’s not the best experience to hear you are being rejected, but I’ve bounced back from it.

Q:A Other sports?

A: All sorts, really. I dabble in tennis, golf, particularly the driving range, and snooker. I’m not exactly ready to take on Gilly (Steven Gillespie) at snooker, but I’m a reasonable all-rounder when it comes to sport.

Q:A What is your most prized possession?

A: I’d probably say my three Northern Ireland caps. They are stashed away at home and are a constant reminder that I’ve been fortunate enough to play international football, which I’m proud of.

Q:Who did you support as a kid? Q:A Favourite Song?

A: I like the Manchester band 1975, and in particular Robbers. But, as well as that, a big shout out to Kyle Perry (right) and Tom Marshall in Stubblemelt and a special mention for one of their songs, Evil Insane.

Q:A Favourite film or TV programme?

A: I absolutely loved Shawshank Redemption, when I saw it on DVD at home. I don’t watch much TV, but I’ve recently been getting into Breaking Bad on Netflix. I also love watching Gordon Ramsey. And listening! He tells it how it is.

Q:A Any good in the kitchen? If so, what is your signature dish?

A: I’m not bad. My girlfriend does most of the cooking, because she tends to be home earlier than me. But I can do a good shepherd’s pie or fajitas or an easy pasta bake. The shepherd’s pie is a special recipe, but I can’t say what the secret ingredient is!

Q:A Three guests you would invite for dinner?

A: I’d have my granddad back, Ken Bailey. He had a great impact on me, always encouraging me and taking an interest in what I was doing, especially football. Gordon Ramsey, because he would liven things up, though I wouldn’t half be under pressure to make sure the food was up to scratch! David Beckham, because he is such a cool guy and can do no wrong in anyone’s eyes.

Q:A Favourite holiday destination?

A: I enjoy going to Dubai. My auntie and uncle live out there. He is stationed there with the army, and they live in a brilliant house. I went to Florida as a kid and would like to go again, but I’d say Dubai.

Q:A Have you got a story about one of your team-mates?

A: Densy (Shaun Densmore) is close to proposing to his girlfriend. He’s always telling us how much he loves her. It’s Sian this, Sian that. It can’t be far off, just round the corner, I think.

Q:A And about yourself?

A: My dad Tom and uncle Tam both fought in the Falklands. Dad was only 17 or 18, and my uncle was 22. My uncle talks about it sometimes. My dad tends not to, but as a family, we are immensely proud of them both. We are very much an army-orientated family. My granddad was in the army, and so was my cousin, Jonathan Noble. Unfortunately, Jonathan had a serious car accident 10 years ago and is paralysed now, but he is a massive influence on my life. In fact, he is a huge influence on all our family, for how strong he is and how he has coped with tough times.

RESERVES REPORT

There is a match report on the Altrincham FC Reserves game against Wythenshawe Town here.

James Lobley has kindly sent the website the adjacent picture from the game. It shows Aaron Edwards rising higher than everyone to make a header. James has more images from the game here.

GET AN ALTY PLAYER'S SIGNED SHIRT

There's still time to register yourself as an Altrincham FC player sponsor for 2014-15. Player sponsors receive their chosen player's signed shirt at the end of the season. For just £150 you can sponsor either a home or away shirt (or both) for each player. The price is just £150 for one shirt or £250 for two! Sponsors' names are recorded in the Robins' Review matchday programme throughout the season and are also displayed under the apporpriate player's name in the Manchester Glass Sponsors' Lounge.

A list of those players sponsored to date and those still available is here.

All sponsors will be listed in the upcoming Robins' Review for the Altrincham v Dartford match.


27 August 2014

THANK YOU

Altrincham FC would like to thank the Football Conference Media Director, Colin Peake, for his generous donation of £100 to the Ice Bucket Challenge for the Motor Neurone Disease Association. Colin's gesture was much appreciated, not least by Alty chairman Grahame Rowley, who endured his iced water shower yesterday on the pitch at the game against Gateshead. Fellow "victim" Anthony Taylor also bravely underwent the Ice Bucket Challenge. One of those mercilessly pouring the water over Grahame was MNDA campaigner and former Alty captain Mark Maddox, pictured right, with former Alty player and manager, Graham Heathcote.

Saturday's bucket collection for the Motor Neurone Disease Association raised an excellent £301.80, for which the club thanks all contributors as well as the collectors. The full amount raised for the charity will be known when all pledges have been redeemed.

GATESHEAD'S FAVOURITE SCORE

Reports from Gateshead say that "manager Gary Mills has praised his players for beating Altrincham to earn a 'massive' three points...just two days after they lost 6-1 at home to Grimsby...

'It was about coming here after that defeat and getting a clean sheet and a win,' Mills said. 'We've done that, so I can't ask any more of the players. It wasn't easy for them and I don't know if this squad have ever experienced a result like Saturday's. I don't think it was one of our better performances and we looked a little nervy at times. We had to dig in against a team that gets the ball forward early and likes to use set pieces.

We're all human. Certain things happen in life and it's about how you respond, and my players have come here and got a 1-0 win away from home, which is my favourite scoreline!'

Number one 'keeper Adam Bartlett was again missing because of a back injury, so Alex Baird retained his place in goal... The Australian, who made two important saves late on in the match, was able to keep a clean sheet".

"FINE LINES"

Joint Press Officer, John Edwards, writes that "Lee Sinnott (below, right) had some ‘strong words’ for his Altrincham players but still backed them to deliver a points return more in keeping with their early-season form after a frustrating Bank Holiday weekend in the Vanarama Conference.

After outplaying Southport but falling to an injury-time winner by the home team, Alty suffered more agony 48 hours later, as Tom Marshall squandered the chance of a late equaliser against Gateshead by blazing over with the goal at his mercy.

It left Alty with just a solitary win over Bristol Rovers to show for their endeavours so far, and Sinnott said: ‘It’s a strange conundrum at the moment, when you look at the five games we’ve played so far. Aldershot apart, on the opening day, you can argue we should have taken something from every game.

‘We could easily have taken a point here against Lincoln, we deservedly beat Bristol Rovers, how we didn’t win at Southport, never mind draw, is still beyond me and there is a case for saying we merited some reward against Gateshead.

‘Instead of sitting here with eight or nine points, though, we’ve got just three, and that merely underlines the importance of taking your chances when they come along and ensuring you don’t give away soft goals.

‘Gateshead did a couple of soft things but got away with them, because, in terms of the Conference, they are a more mature team who are full time and have been at this level quite a while. We are a different kind of animal. We are still finding our feet, but I have had a good chat with the players and told them we don’t want to be doing this every week, saying we played well but have nothing to show for it.

‘There are certain aspects you can’t do at any level, in particular giving the ball away cheaply and more or less being swatted aside for the other team to get possession, which is where Gateshead's goal came from.

‘The message is, we’ve got to take chances when they come along and we can’t give away soft goals. That applies at any level, but, as we are finding out, it’s more relevant than ever in this division.

‘The difference at the moment between getting it right or not is minimal, but at this level, it means everything. It is a tiny gap, but the effect is significant, so we’ve got to close it, and that means failing to convert chances and conceding soft goals has to stop now.

‘It’s fine lines, but we need to address that, because it is preventing us putting points on the board. That is the message to the players. It has to stop now.

‘We knew Gateshead’s style, and how they would have plenty of possession, and our plan of countering that with a 4-5-1 formation was working extremely well. But you switch off for a second, as we did just before half-time, and you pay.

‘Apart from the goal, we handled the first half as I wanted us to and really should have been ahead, when you consider the early chance for Damian Reeves and what looked a very strong case for a penalty for handball.

‘So it could have been 2-0 to us before they scored, but, just as at Southport, we didn’t make it count when we were on top and we ended up reflecting on a goal that shouldn’t have been conceded.

‘I gave the players a rollicking afterwards, because I saw things I don’t want to see, and I will always point it out when that happens. It doesn’t matter what league you are in, there are certain things you can’t get away with. The pedal has to be down from the first minute to the last. You can’t wait 20 minutes before getting into the game. You can’t just switch off and be weak, because it will cost you, particularly at this level, as has been proved.

‘So there were strong words to the players at the end. It needed saying, but I do believe in them, really I do. The football we are playing is good, and we will get better at it as we go along. But there are certain things you need to do at any level, and that is what I picked them up on.

‘It was a wonderful header for their goal, but it came from our possession needlessly breaking down and then one or two people getting caught a little bit out of position. You can’t give the ball away cheaply and needlessly like that. You have got to protect it better.

‘We changed the system to 3-5-2 in the second half, and, in a final roll of the dice, went 3-4-3 near the end. It so nearly paid off, with that late chance for Tom [Marshall, right], but again that’s a reminder of how we need to be more clinical, as well as that bit tighter at the back.

‘It was the same at Southport, where we put so much in but were caught out by a set-piece at the end. It was a needless free-kick, and the starting line for defending it was too deep, which automatically means it is going to go even deeper.

‘It was a quality ball in, but we didn’t deal with it. Any goal we concede is a concern and is addressed with the players. We know we’ve got to stop crosses coming in as much as we can and stop conceding needless free-kicks.

‘I would say 60 per cent of the free-kicks against us are down to our over-eagerness or fatigue and 40 per cent to the opposition being that bit cuter, which is what you get at this level. I have stressed to the players that if someone is going away from goal, just shepherd them away. Don’t give them the chance to try and win a free-kick.

‘But we’re not being outclassed or outplayed. Not a bit of it. Those fine lines are hurting us at the moment, and we know it is a big examination for any team stepping into this league. But it’s up to us collectively to deal with it. In my view, we should certainly be higher up the table. We can make that happen by heeding the lessons we’ve encountered so far.’

Sinnott handed a debut to keeper Dave Parton (left), who responded with some assured handling and a fine reflex save near the end.

‘Dave did well,’ said the Alty boss. ‘He handled everything well and pulled off a really good reflex save, when we were pushing for an equaliser and found ourselves a bit stretched.

‘There is no issue for me about the goalkeeping position, because both of them, Dave and Stuart Coburn, have a big part to play for us this season. From one to 11, I view each and every player exactly the same way. The keeper is just as important as the centre-half, centre-forward or any position you want to mention.

‘The thinking was simply that I wanted to have a look at Dave and see what he brings to the team. I know what Stuart is all about. I should do after all this time, but I thought it would be good for Dave to get a game under his belt and see how he coped.

‘He had no chance with the goal, but he can be happy with how he dealt with everything else. He took his chance well.’

Shaun Densmore is 'on course' to be fit again in three to four weeks, after breaking his toe. Mike Williams (adductor), Nicky Clee (ankle) and Ryan Crowther (shin) are all expected to be fit for Saturday's trip

NON-LEAGUE DAY OFFER

The annual Non-League Day this year is on Saturday, 6 September, when Altrincham entertain Dartford (3pm). For this match, holders of valid season tickets from Premiership or Football League clubs will be admitted to the J. Davidson Stadium for just £5.

YOUTH EDUCATION TEAM'S FIXTURES

The Altrincham FC Youth Education Programme team kicks off its season on Wednesday, 3 September, with a 1.30pm kick off at Clay Lane against FC United of Manchester. The team's early fixtures are here.

RESERVES SUFFER REVERSE

Top of the table Altrincham FC Reserves suffered their first defeat of the Cheshire Football League Division Two season on Tuesday evening. They lost 3-1 at home to Wythenshawe Town, their goal being a late consolation from substitute Spencer Cunliffe. A brief report will follow on this match tomorrow...

Pictured, right, Altrincham Reserves' defender, Sam Heathcote, heads clear in the match against Wythenshawe Town.

BARRY'S VIEW

Barry Pikesley's latest article in the 'Robins' Review', entitled 'The Gateshead Mastery Ritual', is reproduced

OLD BOY

NL Daily reports that "Chairman Ali Shulver says a desire to ensure Haverhill Rovers quickly return to winning ways was behind the departure of manager Dean Greygoose... The decision to part company with Greygoose was made in the wake of the 4-1 defeat at Fakenham Town last Saturday...

Shulver said, 'I'm confident that Dean and his coaching team will be in another position quickly, such is their hard work and passion for the game and would hope that, given the right resources at their disposal, they will be successful'".

VANARAMA CONFERENCE NEWS

There's potential trouble in store for Bristol Rovers as the Bristol Post reports that "A huge question mark hangs over hopes of building a new £40 million stadium for Bristol Rovers due to a legal dispute between the club and Sainsbury's over building a new store at the Memorial Stadium.

The Bristol Post can reveal that the club has issued a writ against the supermarket chain for what it claims to be breaches of contract over the planned redevelopment of its current ground in Horfield.

Rovers claim they are out of pocket to the tune of nearly £340,000 as a result of legal fees and soaring building costs, due to Sainsbury's allegedly dragging its feet over the scheme.

Despite the relationship between the parties obviously going sour, the Post understands that the club insists Sainsbury's is legally obliged to build the new store, which is crucial to funding the new stadium at the University of the West of England's Frenchay campus.

The 16-page writ, lodged with the High Court in London, alleges that Sainsbury's does not 'sincerely wish' to go ahead with the new store... The club's concerns were first raised last November, the same month that the pressure group TRASHorfield started a legal challenge to the city council's decision to allow the new store to be built... What also gave rise for concern was that Sainsbury's was not actively supporting the city council in fighting the legal challenge by TRASHorfield...

According to the writ, the supermarket chain's position is that unless the planning condition over lorry deliveries could be changed, then the planning consent was not acceptable. The council refused permission for the planning condition to be changed because of the detrimental effect on local residents. Sainsbury's allegedly told the club that as a result, they were entitled to terminate the contract...

In June, the club repeated its offer to pay for an appeal and any extra measures that might be needed to prevent any noise outbreak as a result of lorries making deliveries to the new store. After more legal wrangling, the two sides agreed in July that Sainsbury's would lodge an appeal, while the club would submit its own application for varying the planning permission. These matters are still outstanding but even if they are resolved, it still begs the question whether the new store or stadium will ever be built".

NL Daily says that "Liam Watson, manager of AFC Telford United, accused midfielder Godfrey Poku of letting down the club after he was sent off for the second time in four games.

The former Mansfield Town player, who joined the Bucks in pre-season, was shown a straight red card yesterday after he lashed out at striker Richard Brodie during their 3-3 draw at home to Southport. That dismissal, just before half-time with his team 2-1 down, came less than three weeks after he was sent off at Welling United for two bookable offences in the opening game of the season.

And Watson said. 'Godfrey Poku has let me down and the club down massively. Brodie's wound him up and he has bit. There is no defence for it whatsoever and he is going to be out for four games now'".

The BBC reports that "Striker Mike Phenix says AFC Telford United are finding it hard to bridge the fitness gap on full-time clubs in the Conference Premier. Telford have remained a part-time outfit since being promoted back to the top flight of English non-league football in April, in contrast to the majority of Conference Premier clubs.

'We're only training twice a week', Phenix told BBC Radio Shropshire. 'But we're up against teams who train three or four times a week. They're doing probably double the fitness work we do, perhaps more. For us, it's just about using the time wisely and getting in your fitness when you can'.

Phenix hit eight goals from midfield last season despite having to cope with the effects of colitis, the same bowel condition which forced Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher to miss nearly 12 months of football. The 25-year-old said regular medication has helped him, although he has also had to contend with some unwelcome side effects. "

And the BBC adds that 'Chester boss Steve Burr is still keen to bring in new players ahead of the close of the August transfer window'. City, reprieved from relegation in June, have made a faltering start to the new Conference campaign. But, although Burr has been told that funds are limited, he told BBC Radio Merseyside, 'We need to strengthen. I've asked the question and I'm waiting to hear what can be done'...

Burr has already made 10 summer signings, highlighted by the capture of veteran duo Chris Iwelumo and Gareth Roberts.. The City boss feels his reshaped team are starting to knit together, having recovered from 2-0 down after nine minutes at Aggborough. Although concerned that City have conceded five goals during the opening 10 minutes in their first five matches of the season, Burr is comforted that their three defeats were against the sides who now form the top three in the fledgling table; Barnet, Forest Green and Halifax.

'We took advantage of Kiddy going down to 10 men,' added Burr. 'But, having said that, we missed a penalty and really should have won. We're not helping ourselves. We're giving goals away and giving ourselves a mountain to climb... The difference between how we played against Kiddy and Saturday's performance was huge', he added. 'And I know what players are like. They thrive on confidence'".



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