NLN Round-up: Fagbola extends FC United stay

Former County defender, Jordan Fagbola, has extended his stay at FC United after signing a one year contract with the Moston-based club.

The 23-year-old defender, who spent four years at County under a number of different managers, joined the club in January of this year after a short stint at Solihull Moors.

Fagbola started the last eight matches in a row for FCUM, and his performances in the latter part of the season were enough to earn the former Rochdale defender a 12 month contract.

Elsewhere in the National League North, Alfreton Town continue to strengthen for the new season with the re-signing of Brad McGowan, their 2017 player of the year.

Chorley fans will also be pleased with the news of Jake Cottrell signing for a further season, the midfielder now enters his fifth season at the Lancashire club and has made more than 200 appearances for The Magpies.

Finally, highly rated Shrewsbury striker, Ethan Jones, has decided to sign for Southport, despite interest from a number of clubs. The 19-year-old has cited game time as the main reason for his move to The Sandgrounders.

Jason Oswell becomes County’s third signing of the summer

Former Newtown AFC striker, Jason Oswell, has signed for County on a one year deal and becomes Jim Gannon’s third signing of the 2017 close season.

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The 24 year old was the Dafabet player of the season and golden boot winner last season, helping The Robins to a 7th place finish with his 22 league goals.

County’s new striker has also had spells at Nantwich, Inverness CT and Witton Albion since leaving Crewe Alexandra as a youngster.

Current Newtown boss, Chris Hughes, could not hide his disappointment at the loss of his player of the season.

“He will be a big miss for us, has been a fantastic for myself and the club, but expressed desire to return to the English system”, he told newtownafc.com after news of his departure was confirmed.

“We wish him all the best in his new venture.”

Jim Gannon, meanwhile, expressed his delight at securing Jason’s signature, who left Wales with a goal ratio that was better than one in two.

“I like my main forward to be an all round, well-equipped point attacker. And the more I considered Jason and assessed his attributes the more I felt he would be a great fit in our new look frontline”, he told Stockportcounty.com on Monday.

“Jason has the height and aerial strength to be a target man for getting up the pitch or attacking crosses. But he has a good turn of pace and very good mobility and athleticism for a big lad”.

The Gaffer also had words for County supporters, who have been wary on the club’s progress since the loss of both our player of the year and top goalscorer.

“I am confident we will have a stronger team than last season… We are far from finished and we have been working hard on adding other targets”.

“We may need to be patient to get the right quality but I am confident that we will have a team and squad stronger than last season”.

The club have now secured the signings of Matty Warburton, Stephen O’Halloran and Jason Oswell, as they continue to prepare for 17/18 season and push for the newly designed play-off places.

 

 

O’Halloran re-signs for County

Stephen O’Halloran has re-signed for County after two years with Salford City. The defender becomes James Gannon’s second summer signing of 2017.

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The popular defender has played a starring role in The Ammies last two campaigns, and was part of the side that reached the FA Cup second round in 2016 whilst simultaneously winning the evo-stik premier league. In his second year at Salford, he helped his side reach the play-off semi-finals before parting ways after the club decided to move full-time.

Gannon was impressed with the defender during his time at County and towards the end of his time with City, and the gaffer believes that the left-footed defender will add something to County’s, already solid, defence.

“I feel he offers great experience, footballing quality, and natural balance to the other two contracted central defenders Michael Clarke and Chris Smalley”, he told stockportcounty.com on Wednesday.

“The addition of Stephen provides the option of both quality and balance that will keep the competition sharp for any the two man central defensive pair”.

The defender is a qualified physiotherapist and will most likely continue that work full-time whilst playing for County semi-professionally.

 

 

 

 

 

League introduce new play-off format for 2018

The National League chief executive today announced that the rumoured plans to alter the play-off structure in the top three non-league divisions will go ahead in time for next season.

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The radical new format, which was announced today by CEO Michael Tattersall, involves the top seven clubs in each of the National League premier, north and south, finishing in a ‘promotion’ position.

As usual, the winners will receive automatic promotion, whilst second to seventh position will battle it out for the other spot.

Second and third position will move straight into a one-legged semi-final (at home), whilst fourth to seventh will battle it out to join them in a quarter-final-type match.

The league have confirmed that the finals of the north and south play-offs will continue in being played at the highest placed home team.

The controversial new format could therefore see a team as low as seventh get promoted, as the league look to increase the interest levels by increasing the number of teams competing.

Source – Non League Pitchero

 

 

Updated: Confirmed 2017/18 Squad

As Jim Gannon looks to sort his squad out as early as possible following the end of the season, there has been plenty of movement at Edgeley Park and below are the players who are confirmed for the 2017 season:

  1. Ben Hinchliffe (contracted until 2018)
  2. Ian Ormson (contracted until 2018)
  3. Michael Clarke (contracted until 2018)
  4. Sam Minihan (contracted until 2018)
  5. Max Cartwright (contracted until 2018)
  6. Chris Smalley (contracted until 2018)
  7. Scott Duxbury (contracted until 2018)
  8. Connor Hampson (contracted until 2018)
  9. Lewis Montrose (contracted until 2019)
  10. Harry Winter (contracted until 2018)
  11. Adam Etches (contracted until 2019)
  12. Jimmy Ball (contracted until 2019)
  13. Harry Brazel (non-contract terms)
  14. Adam Thomas (contracted until 2018)
  15. George West (non-contract terms)

Gannon has previously stated that he believes the current squad has good strength in depth, but understands the need to get new faces in to complement the current batch of players.

“We’re now looking to recruit at least five very strong Conference North players. The main targets will be the three or four attackers that will provide the presence, penetration and creativity to get goals”, he told stockportcounty.com  last week.

“We’re also considering an experienced leader type centre back and a strong left-footed central midfielder to complement our current team players”.

With the intent shown early on in pre-season by Salford City, and the relegation of York City (who intend to remain full-time) along with the usual suspects of Chorley, Kidderminster, Nuneaton and Darlington. Jim Gannon will have his work cut out in trying to ensure that County can build upon their reasonably successful 2016/17 and finish in at least, the top five.

 

AFC Fylde 0-0 County

County battled to earn an important point at Mill Farm as they ensured runaway league leaders AFC Fylde drew a blank in front of a club record midweek attendance. 

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Mark Ross and Connor Hampson returned to the starting line-up as County adopted a back 5 in the hope of stopping the league top scorers on their own patch, but similar to the game at Edgeley Park in September, The Coasters quickly settled into a rhythm and dominated the opening stages of the game. Continue reading

Preview: County vs Curzon Ashton

County take on Curzon Ashton in a game that many are considering the easiest of what is a tough month, and with three points up-for-grabs that could see the Hatters move back into the play-offs, it is an incredibly important game. 

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Team news: 

Jim Gannon will have a strong squad to choose from, with no new injuries since last weeks match against Chorley. Jimmy Ball will be hoping to continue a positive week after Continue reading