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.

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.

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.

Cartwright Rejects Contract Offer

Left-back Max Cartwright has rejected a contract offer from the club after a reasonably successful first season with the Hatters, which included a goal on his debut in the 2-1 league victory over Salford.

It was initially reported that the 21-year-old had signed on for another year, but the defender has now decided to move on from Edgeley Park (reason undisclosed).

Max signed for County after a serious head injury to Scott Duxbury against Fylde in November. The former Fleetwood trainee had spells in and out of the team as well as a loan at Ashton United before consolidating his place towards the end of the season. In total, Max made 15 appearances for us, scoring one goal.

All the best with your next move, Max.

2016/17 NLN Average Attendances

We compiled data from a number of different websites including football web pages and The Linnets to determine a list of average attendances for the 2016/2017 season.

Notable mentions should include AFC Fylde, who improved their attendance by 275% on last season and Salford City, who achieved 117% improvement on their 2015/16 attendance.

County can also be pleased with a 12% jump whilst the FC United hierarchy may be worred with a 21% drop in support last season.

  1. Stockport County – 3,477
  2. FC United of Manchester – 2,660
  3. FC Halifax Town – 2,156
  4. AFC Fylde – 1,961
  5. Kidderminster Harriers – 1,837
  6. Darlington 1883 – 1,739
  7. Chorley – 1,454
  8. Salford City – 1,430
  9. AFC Telford United – 1,182
  10. Altrincham – 1,149
  11. Boston United – 1,081
  12. Harrogate Town – 901
  13. Tamworth – 825
  14. Worcester City – 636
  15. Nuneaton Town – 626
  16. Gainsborough Trinity – 612
  17. Stalybridge – 569
  18. Alfreton Town – 546
  19. Gloucester City – 483
  20. Bradford Park Avenue – 453
  21. Brackley Town – 427
  22. Curzon Ashton – 405

In addition, the teams that were relegated/promoted to the league had the following average attendances:

  • York City – 2,558
  • North Ferriby United – 615
  • Southport – 1,140
  • Blyth Spartans – 648
  • Spennymoor Town – 623

 

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

Former Hatter Luca Havern joins Bradford

Former County defender Gianluca Havern, who scored a goal on his debut weeks before our promotion to league 1 in 2008, has joined Bradford PA after impressing for Telford in 2017.

The 28-year-old, who made 9 appearances in two separate spells for County, was captain and player of the year for AFC Telford last season.

The move rules out any lingering rumours that the former Hatter was due to return to the club this summer after an impressive spell for The Bucks.

Elsewhere in the National League North, Gus Mafuta joined Salford to become the Ammies 12th signing of the summer. Whilst Harrogate Town have strengthened with the addition of Alfreton Town defender, Terry Kennedy.