Leaders Lilywhites fend off interest in top stars

MOSSLEY are becoming victims of their own success following a fine start to their Northern Premier League campaign.

The 3-1 win at Kidsgrove Athletic on Saturday (October 23) lifted the Lilywhites to the top of west division, though only three points separate the top seven teams.

Manager David Fish has revealed the Emmaus Mossley Seel Park club is getting an average of one official approach each week for players.

The fact they have all rejected overtures from bigger clubs in the same division and the higher NPL, premier has delighted Fish.

He said: “The challenge to starting the season well has been teams making approaches for our players.

“All the lads – you can guess who they are – were not interested and want to stay which underlines the team spirit which counts more than an extra £10 or £20 per week.”

Jack Banister

Mossley had a relatively easy start to the season but in recent weeks have begun playing some of the top sides – they beat Leek Town, drew with Clitheroe and lost heavily at home to second-placed Rylands.

Fish added: “We beat Leek comfortably, were disappointed not to defeat Clitheroe but were well beaten by Rylands. We are where we are in the table on merit.

“The next month is important as we play Runcorn Linnets, Workington and Marine, teams I expected to be at the top before the start of the season.

“By the end of November, we will have played all the big hitters so will have a real sense of where we are.”

Fish added that stability and continuity have been the key to their success.

He explained: “It was really important to keep a lot of players from last season and bring in players who would blend well.

“It is something we have achieved. The team spirit is superb as seen by players rejecting better offers as they want to stay and play for us.”

Mossley have added width to their side by signing Jack Banister from Widnes.

Will Shepherd

The 26-year-old winger, who had previously played for FC United, Curzon Ashton and Warrington Town, caught the eye of Fish.

He said: “Jack tormented us and was arguably the best player on the pitch when we played Widnes.

“We were looking for more competition in wide areas and he knows a couple of our players. All those things came together to make him an obvious target.

“I’m delighted to welcome him to the club and think the fans will love his style of play and the quality he will bring to the squad.”

Banister was part of the Widnes team which won promotion to the Northern Premier League in 2017-18 when they also lifted the Macron Cup.

The change from a back three and wing backs to a flat back four necessitated the need for wide players.

“We had no wingers at the start of the season, but now have Jack, Levi Phillips and David Kuba Kuba while Harry Pratt and Mason Fawns can play wide if needed,” he explained.

Fish has been trimming his squad with four players leaving.

Alex Dinsmore and Kyle Hawley have joined Cheadle Heath Nomads and Wythenshawe Amateurs respectively.

Ben White has moved to Chadderton on dual forms and Ben Richardson to New Mills temporarily to get matches.

Striker Antony Brown remains the only long-term injury absentee through a hamstring injury which is likely to keep him out until late November.

Fish has been delighted with the way Pratt has deputised, saying: “Harry has been magnificent in Antony’s absence.

Harry Pratt

“It is nice Harry is showing what he can do. We see it in training, but never before has he translated it into performances and goals on a Saturday. It is like having a new player.

“In fact. most of my conversations with Antony are not about his injury but how he is going to get back in the side.”

Goalkeeper Dale Latham has also missed several matches through a groin problem. Jordan Hadlow has stepped up and not put a foot wrong with Fish adding he, too, has given him a selection dilemma.

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