STRUGGLING Stalybridge Celtic are venturing overseas for players in a pursuit to improve their fortunes in the Northern Premier League.
They have signed Dutch winger Justin Johnson who was once in Manchester United’s academy.
And chairman and club owner Rob Gorski revealed Celtic are also about to sign another foreign player for whom they are awaiting international clearance for the striker.
Celtic have already captured Johnson, 25, who most recently played for Scottish side Greenock Morton.
Johnson began his football career at Sparta Rotterdam before joining Manchester United’s academy. He then signed professional terms with Dundee United making five appearances for the club.
A loan spell with York City was followed by two years in Cyprus playing for Othellos Athienou and Akritas Cholorakas.
A return to Scotland in 2020 saw him link up with Hamilton Academical before last season playing for Greenock Morton.
Manager Simon Haworth continues to rejig his squad with Scott Burton, Keano Deacon, Jack Ryan and Ioan Evans all leaving.
Burton, the former Salford City and Chester FC midfielder, asked for his contract to be ripped up after he failed to make a competitive appearance following his summer arrival at Bower Fold.
Mr Gorski added it was the club’s decision to part company with Deacon and Ryan, the latter agreeing to terminate his contract.
Ryan, who had begun his career at Preston North End, failed to find the net in nine appearances for Celtic.
Mr Gorski said: “Jack was a contracted player and, after speaking to Simon, agreed to rip up his contract as things had not worked out.
“I have been involved here for 20 years and seen players walk down the road for an extra £5 or £10,
“How refreshing for Jack to do that. It says a lot about his character, and I thank him for that.”
The departure of non-contract summer signing Evans to Northern Premier League rivals Matlock Town came as a shock.
Mr Gorski said: “Simon was disappointed to lose Ioan who was good at both ends of the pitch.
“A fellow Welshman, Ioan had a good connection with Simon, but the next minute he has gone.”
Celtic’s lack of firepower saw them bring in Kieran Wells and Jay Fitzmartin.
Wells, 28, had played most recently with Frickley Athletic, but had previously played for Hednesford Town. Stamford, Basford, Ilkeston and Sherwood Colliery.
Celtic have also signed forward Jay Fitzmartin who arrives on a three-month loan from Bolton Wanderers.
The 18-year-old has been with Bolton since he was 11 and signed scholarship forms with the club in 2019. He made his first-team debut in September 2019 in a 1-1 draw with Bradford City in the EFL Trophy and signed his first professional contract in June.
Celtic have also signed goalkeeper Louis Hood, 17, from Accrington Stanley on a one-month loan to cover for the injured Grant Shenton.