Six more sign up for Celtic

STALYBRIDGE Celtic have made six further summer signings, including Albanian midfielder Krisel Prifti.

The 25-year-old, who has played in Albania’s top division, is now living in Bolton.

It was through Celtic player Jonathan Ustabasi, who has played in Turkey and Moldova, that Prifti arrived at Bower Fold.

And with 16 players already signed up for the 2020-21 season, manager Simon Haworth’s major rebuild is almost complete.

There have been 11 new arrivals at Bower Fold with Haworth looking to lower the age of his squad.

Prifti joins Celtic following a spell at Trafford and has previously played professionally for KF Apolonia, KF Luzi United and KF Himara in Albania.

Haworth said: “Krisel is a really exciting player, two-footed and can play in several positions.

“We’re really excited to see how he settles to English football. We see similarities with Jon Ustabasi.

“He’s technically good, fit and will aid us with his versatility. If he can get anywhere near what Jon has done, we’ll be really chuffed.”

Celtic have also captured experienced midfielder Scott Sephton with Haworth admitting he was a long-term target.

Sephton joins from rivals Matlock Town although he had spent most of last season with Warrington Town.

The 29-year-old brings an array of experience having had spells at Congleton Town, Ashton United, Trafford, Buxton and Prescot Cables.

Haworth said: “I’m over the moon to sign Scott. He’s a player, I’ve admired for a long time.

“I’ve tried signing him three or four times, both at Stalybridge and at Clitheroe. It’s been a long time coming.

“I really admire him as a player, he’s got a bit of everything. He can play, he’s a good size and has plenty of experience in this league.

“He’s a good senior footballer and he will thrive from the responsibility of having younger player around him.

“I’ve always believed Scott will play his best football under myself, I know what kind of lad he is and I think he’ll thrive at our club. Most importantly, he was desperate to come and play for this football club, like everybody else we have signed.

A third midfield capture is Damani Holness who was most recently at Stockport Town.

The 24-year-old has also featured for Morecambe, Stockport County, Northwich Victoria and Macclesfield Town before moving to America where he joined professional side Memphis 901 FC in 2019.

Haworth said: “What we needed was a holding midfield player. He will allow us to play the style of football that we want next season.

“He’s got a real good football brain and looks after the football really well.

“I’m made up to be signing him and I think he will be a massive player for us this season.”

Celtic have signed Ramsbottom United goalkeeper Tom Stewart who kept eight clean sheets in 30 league games to help them finish second in Northern Premier League, division one north west.

After starting his career at Blackburn Rovers, Stewart also spent time with Guiseley and hometown club Bradford City before joining Morecambe in February 2015, he made his Football League debut in March that year against Shrewsbury.

Stewart had spells at Whyteleafe and Harrogate Town as well as loan moves to Salford City, AFC Liverpool and Buxton before a move to Ramsbottom last season where he excelled.

Haworth, who had Manchester United’s Alex Fojticek on loan for the 2019-20 season, is delighted to have signed a permanent keeper.

He said: “We’ve used a lot of loan keepers since I took over, but we’ve thought about the benefits, the pros and cons and decided that if the right keeper came up, we’d go for it.

“The opportunity came up to sign Tom, we took it and we’re delighted to have signed him.

“He’s got a point to prove, but also got experience. He’s had a great season with Ramsbottom. He’s still got things to learn but he wants to improve, that goes for everyone who we’ve signed, they are all in the same boat.

“In terms of his ability, he’s got good hands, he’s a real big size at 6ft 5in and he’ll give us a real presence in the box coming for set-pieces and crosses, something we’ve not had for a while. It’ll help the back four massively.

“Tom can also kick well so he has all the attributes to be a very good keeper. He’s the right age and has the right profile.”

Celtic have added teenage centre-half Tom Wilson from Hallam FC.

The 19-year-old made 11 appearances for the Sheffield side last season in Northern Counties East Football League, division one.

Tom who is from the steel city, started his career at boyhood club Sheffield United before taking a break from football prior to joining Hallam.

He got back playing and whilst featuring for his college under 21s side, he was scouted by Hallam who he joined shortly after and has been ever since.

Haworth said: “Tom is a promising young centre-half who is very athletic and aggressive, but also a good footballer. He has an excellent attitude and desire to improve and is very hungry for an opportunity.”

The final new arrival is left-back Ben Woods from West Didsbury & Chorlton.

The 23-year-old has also played for 1874 Northwich, Ramsbottom United, Abbey Hey and Hyde United.

Haworth said “Ben is a good signing as left-back has been a problem position for us over the last two seasons.

“With his pace and energy and enthusiasm to learn, the shirt is his to lose.”

• Haworth had already signed Tyler Williams, Anthony Williams, Mike Burke, Kyle Hawley and Bradley Knox.

The players returning from last season are Chris Holroyd, Harry Freedman, Ustabasi, Kallum Mantack and Stephen O’Halloran.

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