County squad taking shape as pre-season begins

We take a look at the current Stockport County squad as pre-season begins for the 2017/18 season.

Starting at the back, and probably the one area that The Hatters don’t require any strengthening in, Ian Ormson and Ben Hinchliffe will fight it out for the number one jersey, with Hinchliffe expected to start the season as no.1.

In defence, new signings Dan Cowan and Stephen O’Halloran join current defenders Chris Smalley, Michael Clarke, Sam Minihan, Connor Hampson and Scott Duxbury to ensure County will start their pre-season campaign with a number of experienced and promising defenders.

The midfield was seen as a concern at the end of last season and that will have been heightened by the loss of influential midfielder, Lewis Montrose. Fortunately, Jim Gannon has moved quickly on that front with the addition of Salford midfielder Sam Walker. Sam will join Harry Winter and Harry Brazel in the heart of the County team and attacking midfielders James Ball, George West and Adam Etches.

A complete revamp of the County frontline has also taken place, with Kayode Odejayi, Josh Amis and Sefton Gonzales all released. Space has been made for new signings Matty Warburton, Darren Stephenson and Jason Oswell, whilst  attacker Adam Thomas also returns from injury after a year on the sidelines.

So, overall, 19 players make up the squad as pre-season kicks off. It’s likely that Jim Gannon will add another attacker and another midfielder before the first real fixtures take place in August, but already the current squad looks more balanced (on paper) as County look to leave the sixth tier of English football at the fifth attempt.

Walker and Cowan Join Hatters

Stockport County manager, Jim Gannon has bolstered his options in defence and midfield with the addition of Dan Cowan and Sam Walker, just days before the start of pre-season.

Cowan, who joins from Macclesfield, has been at the club since finishing his apprenticeship in 2014 and has made over 50 appearances before his release this summer.

The right-sided defender has also had loan spells at Ashton United and Chorley in recent years and after the announcement that Max Cartwright has left the club, Gannon was quick to add the 21-year-old to his side.

“I’ve seen Dan play every year for Macclesfield Town against my teams, and he has always impressed me”, he told the club website on Tuesday.

“The addition provides further depth, and restores some balance to the defensive options… He’s grown in maturity with first team games and I feel he has all the attributes to develop into a top defender”.

In addition, County fans can be excited at the capture of highly-rated midfielder Sam Walker, who joins the club on a two year deal after rejecting a new contract at Salford City for the coming season.

The 29-year-old has also had successful spells at Curzon Ashton and  Halifax Town, where he won the FA Trophy, and the central midfielder has been hailed as a potential replacement for goals now that top scorer Danny Lloyd has left for Peterborough.

“Sam scored seven goals and provided 13 assists in last season’s 37 appearances at Salford, which is a great contribution from central midfield”, Gannon told fans last week.

Sam and Matty Warburton provide us with two very good technicians for set plays, which at every level of football is becoming an increasingly important source of goals”.

Welcome to both Dan and Sam, we look forward to seeing you in pre-season.

Eighteen Players Signed for New Campaign

The addition of Darren Stephenson from Tranmere means that County’s list of players grows to 18, with two weeks to go until pre-season.

County’s four summer signings, Stephen O’Halloran, Darren Stephenson, Matty Warburton and Jason Oswell, will supplement the 2016/17 squad that fell just short of a play-off place.

The current balance of the team seems to show that a central midfielder is now a priority for Gannon, with only two currently in the squad (Harry Brazel and Harry Winter), but with Sam Minihan and James Ball known to fill in at CM, Gannon could look to continue bolstering his attacking options as he re-shapes his front line.

The full list of players can be found below:  Continue reading

Tranmere Winger signs for County

Former Tranmere Rovers winger, Darren Stephenson, has signed for Stockport County on a two year contract and becomes Jim Gannon’s fourth signing of the summer.

The left sided attacker, who began his career at Bradford City and made one appearance for The Bantams in 2012, has been billed as a replacement for Danny Lloyd and a striker that is proven at Conference North level.

The consensus from Tranmere Rovers fans, for what it’s worth, is that it was a mistake to release a player that was never really given a chance in the team. Looking at the Total Tranmere forum, you can see that the majority believe he would have an important impact for them when fully fit.

Jim Gannon, meanwhile, is delighted to finally secure Darren’s services, and revealed that he has been a target for quite some time.

‘Darren is a player I’ve admired since he played against my Northwich Victoria team’, he told Stockportcounty.com on Monday.

“(He) catches the eye with his skill, pace and ability to raid in off the left to score goals. His flourish of goals at the end of 2015/2016 earned him a great move to Tranmere”.

Gannon also revealed that his work was not finished yet, and expressed his desire to continually supplement the current squad of players.

“We are continuing discussions with a number of attackers that we trust will provide at least one more player with different qualities to complement and supplement our signed attackers”.

Lloyd signs for Peterborough

Danny Lloyd has signed for Peterborough United on a three year deal with the League 1 club claiming to have fought off a number of clubs for the former Fylde man’s signature.

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Photo courtesy of ThePosh.com 

‘The Posh’ have a history of bringing players up through non-league and manager Grant McCann fought hard to bring the 25-year-old to London Road.

‘I am delighted to sign Danny, he adds to the attacking threat. He has scored a lot of goals and created goals too’, he told Peterborough’s official website earlier this week.

‘He likes to get forward at every opportunity and I am looking forward to working with him’.

Lloyd, who promised goals last summer when he joined County, said the decision was an easy one for him.

‘As soon as I heard about the interest from Peterborough, I wanted to sign’, he revealed to his new club yesterday.

‘If I am honest, I wish pre-season was starting tomorrow because I am eager to get going. This is an opportunity for me and I am going to work extremely hard from day one’.

The striker was out of contract at Edgeley Park and unfortunately for County, because Lloyd was not under 24 years of age, the club get no compensation for his services and he moves to Cambridgeshire without afflicting his new side with a fee.

We’d like to wish Danny Lloyd all the best for next season, it’s clear that it was his dream to move into professional football and the stability of a three year contract at a league 1 club is something that the majority of professionals outside the top two tiers would jump at.

Good luck Danny!

 

Pre-Season Training Video: What Have We Learnt

Trialists: 

The club have got a number of trialists at the moment, there are a few players in there that we couldn’t recognise meaning they are either development squad players we haven’t seen or non contract players which are on trial at the club. 

Andy Robinson: 

Looks as though he can get himself about, lots of energy for a 35 year old. 

Contracted Players:

There is hope for last seasons contracted players. The video shows a number of last years players (Glover, Lees & Churchman) getting stuck in to training. Young’s quote of ‘the door is never closed’ should also provide hope that hard work in pre season and a bit of quality can mean a way back into the first team. 

Bell-Baggie: 

He looks fast. When was the last time we had a fast player? 

Goalkeepers: 

There’s at least one other goalkeeper in the squad besides Hurst, whether on trial/development/signed, who knows.