Mossley manager looks to put final touches to squad

MANAGER David Fish is still looking to finish his summer rebuild at Mossley in readiness for the start of their Northern Premier League, west division campaign.

Fish would like to add three or four further players to the squad before the opening match at home to Bootle on August 14.

“We have 15 players signed on which includes Ben Richardson whose availability is in question as he has just become a father to twins,” he explained.

Antony Brown

“We have a good balance to the squad, but it needs more depth. We are not far away, but I would like to upgrade by getting cover, especially out wide and may be another midfielder.”

Mossley have had a couple of trialists who have impressed – one is former Bradford City striker Connor Morris – so they are possibilities.

Fish, about to start his second season as manager, is pleased to have retained the nucleus of the squad from the 2020-21 campaign.

He said: “When we look at this stage of pre-season compared to last year, we are definitely a lot stronger.

“Then we didn’t have Antony Brown and Mason Fawns (former Oldham Athletic forward) who will be two important players for us.

“The great beauty is we have kept the core of last season’s squad. We know the players and they know us and how we want to play football which is important.”

Devon Matthews

The player to catch the eye pre-season has been striker Antony Brown who was signed from Silsden last October.

With five goals in three friendlies, he looked like being the out-and-out striker Mossley haven’t had for some time.

Fish said: “Antony hardly played after we signed him as our season was soon abandoned.

“We see Antony in training and what he can do. He holds up play, brings others into the game and is a proper number nine.

“Declan Evans, one of the best centre halves in the league, hates playing against Antony in training which underlines how good he is.”

Mossley have lost three players from last season, winger Jes Uchegbulam has moved to Matlock Town, midfielder Ethan Kershaw has joined Atherton Collieries, both in higher divisions, while Steve Mason is having difficulty committing.

Fish said: “Ethan was staying until he received a better offer from Atherton. However, since he has left Jordan Butterworth has stepped up and grown in stature.

“Steve Mason has been training and the door is always open if he wants to return.”

The Mossley manager has also been delighted by the capture of Kain Dean who provides more strength and options on the left.

The 18-year-old, who was in the academy at Mansfield, Town, is likely to play left back/wing back depending on what formation is played.

Fish, whose squad has been short on numbers pre-season, has drafted in six members of last season’s Mossley Juniors’ Under-16s to train with four getting match time in the friendly against Cheadle Heath Nomads.

The youngsters, most of who are pupils at Mossley Hollins High School, will continue to be involved throughout the season as the club is keen to create a pathway from the juniors to the first team.

The restructuring of the NPL by forming a third division sees Mossley, who are in the west division, playing more North West teams while teams from the North East are no longer opponents as they are in east division.

Fish believes it will be a tough division believing Workington, who have appointed former Mossley manager Chris Willcock as their new boss, as being title contenders alongside Leek Town.

He also thought Ramsbottom and Clitheroe would be challengers, but both have been troubled build ups.

Fish also sees the three promoted teams, FA Vase winners Warrington Rylands, 1874 Northwich and Bootle as being ones also to watch.

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