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The 2 Salford City players who could have a major impact on the club’s league football debut season

Salford City have a big season ahead of them as they test the waters of the English Football League.

Salford City achieved a third-place finish in the National League, leading to a play-off final against AFC Fylde which resulted in a 3-0 win for the newly promoted side.

After an impressive season 2018/19 season, Salford City will be aiming to maintain and grow within the English Football League League 2. What can separate this promising side from the many clubs who failed to remain in the top flights of English football?

Here are two players to look out for in Salford City’s venture into the English Football League…

Tom Walker

This 23-year-old wide-midfielder joined the cause in January 2018 from Salford’s neighbours over at FC United of Manchester. After previously being contracted with Bolton Wanderers, and experiencing a year-long loan at Bury FC, this young man has a degree of experience in the EFL which could prove useful as they aim to stay there.

Oscar Threlkeld

Also a previous Bolton Wanderer, Threlkeld is a recent free signing of 25 years of age, whose versatility allows him to play full-back, centre-back and defensive midfield positions.

He already has a wealth of experience in the English Football League with a loan spell and a permanent contract with Plymouth Argyle. Threlkeld accumulated 97 appearances for the club and has played in both League One and League Two. Salford City gaining his signature shows their determination to build a squad suited to the top tiers of English Football.

What Will Former FC United Striker Kurt Willoughby Bring to AFC Fylde?

Despite playing for relegated FC United of Manchester last season, striker Kurt Willoughby has moved into full-time football with last season’s beaten National League play-off finalists AFC Fylde.

On the back of having a very good season last year, scoring 19 goals for FC United. He had previously scored goals for fun in the North West Counties League for AFC Blackpool and Clitheroe, wherever Willoughby goes goals seem to follow.

His form this season has also seen the 21-year-old called up to the England C squad, where he scored on his debut against Wales C.

With last seasons joint National League top goalscorer Danny Rowe in the squad at Fylde. Willoughby has the perfect model to help develop his game and, this has lead to his new manager Dave Challinor labelling his new striker “Not a risk but definitely a project”.

With that being said, we thought we’d take a look into just what the new man will bring to AFC Fylde. With the ambitions of going one step further and getting promoted out of the National League and back into the Professional Football.

Running in Behind

You could compare Willoughby’s game to that of Jamie Vardy in the Premier League, the man loves a ball over the top or a through ball that he can run on too from the shoulder of the last defender.

This will definitely be something fresh for fans of Fylde as top scorer Danny Rowe isn’t that type of player instead, he holds the ball up and creates chances from nothing.

Therefore, Willoughby will be another option in the Fylde arsenal this season, meaning they have a plan B.

Counter Attacking

Something that Willoughby definitely isn’t opposed to is running the channels and dragging his team up the pitch.

The former FC United man was top scorer at a relegated team last season, meaning that likely for long spells they were defending, therefore, the striker was forced to play on the counter-attack.

Its this willingness to run that will create space and openings for other players at Fylde, such as Danny Rowe and if you give that man space, goals follow.

Other new signings have also been made at Fylde to improve this side of their game, therefore it’s looking like his new club will be playing to Willoughbys strengths.

EFL & Below Show 2018/19 Season Review: Bury FC, Salford City, Oldham Athletic, Rochdale, Wigan Athletic & Bolton Wanderers

This is the EFL and Below Show, your look at all the footballing action in Greater Manchester that doesn’t come from Old Trafford or the Etihad.

Niall McCaughan is joined by Ian Foran and Aaron Benson from the Football Manc Cave in this final episode of the season, taking a look back at the respective seasons of Bury, Salford, Oldham, Bolton, Rochdale and Stockport County.

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Thanks for listening this season!

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OPINION: Who Will Gain Promotion To The National League North; Ashton United, FC United or Radcliffe Borough

Ahead of every new season mountains of speculation appear as to who are the favourites for promotion the coming year.

Going into the 2019/20 season we took a look at which of the three Manchester sides could challenge for promotion to the National League North. Following Ashton United and FC United of Manchester getting relegated from the second tier of Non-League last year to the Evo-Stick League Premier Division and Radcliffe Borough getting promoted to that same division through the playoffs. The three clubs will have a host of derby games next year that we are sure will be exciting affairs for supporters and players alike.

Despite all three clubs being in the same division, there is nothing to say that any of the clubs will get promoted from what is a very strong division. With some big clubs such as beaten play-off finalists Warrington Town, Nantwich Town and South Shields.

Therefore, the clubs will all have to have good preseasons and especially for the two relegated sides, big squad rebuilding jobs will probably need to take place following relegation.

One of which at the first club we are going to look at is already well underway under manager Neil Reynolds…

FC United of Manchester

Following relegation from the National League North, FC United will be looking to bounce straight back up and, are in the process of having a major clear out under manager Neil Reynolds.

Only four players return from last seasons team including club captain Mike Potts. Meaning that the squad being assembled at Broadhurst Park will have a completely new look. Recruiting well and a lot of this has been based around Manchester signing a couple of players from their division rivals for next season including midfielder Ryan Shenton from Curzon Ashton, full back Mason Fallon from Radcliffe Borough and Paul Ennis from Ashton United.

Somewhat of an unknown quantity for FC United going into this season, so will they get promoted? Ask us again in a couple of weeks.

Ashton United

Another massive rebuild is well underway at Ashton, a number of key players from last year have committed to the robins though such as Liam Tomsett and midfielder Sam Sheridan.

Local players seem to have been a focus for this season, taking two from local rivals Curzon Ashton in the form of midfielder Chris Rowney and returning to Ashton United for a second spell John Pritchard.

The club has also brought in players who know this level very well, in Hyde United defender Kyle Harrison and former Bradford Park Avenue winger Nicky Clee.

The recruitment of players who know this level will only help Ashton United and holding on to a core of players will too, we can see them challenging this year.

Radcliffe Borough

Following their promotion, last term will a double promotion be on the cards?

Radcliffe are yet to strengthen their squad, although they can be forgiven only gaining promotion a couple of weeks ago. But keeping hold of the players who did so well for them will be key especially with their new rivals/neighbours sniffing round, having already lost Mason Fallon to FC United.

It completely depends on the aspirations for Radcliffe, they’ve shown the class they have through promotion last term a couple of additions could see them heading in the right direction up the table. With the strength of the other clubs in the league, however, we don’t think Radcliffe will go up again.

Two Things Brian Richardson Can Bring to FC United Next Season

This last season has been a rollercoaster of a season for FC United of Manchester, through having three managers and 57 players, it has been a season of constant change for the team in red.

In not having a stable squad throughout last season managed to contribute to the Red’s first relegation in their 14-year history. However, Neil Reynold will be hoping to put last season behind him and is already set up for the 2019/2020 season in the Evo-Stik North Premier, as the club announced on Friday that they have brought in a new Assistant Manager, ex-Prescot Cables manager Brian Richardson.

Richardson managed Prescot Cables for two and a half years, in that time he has brought great success to the club as Cables were just avoiding relegation before he took over. Since then, he got the Merseyside team into the playoffs where they just missed out after a late goal by Reynold’s former club, Bamber Bridge. Also under Richardson’s reign, he took them to three consecutive Liverpool Senior Cup Finals, in which they won the first two back to back but lost out to the last one to a penalty shootout. He managed Prescot for 137 matches, of those he won 68, which gives an incredible win percentage of 49.64!

Brian Richardson will be a great addition to Neil Reynold’s management team as he has much experience at this level, as he also worked at Skelmersdale United for ten years and was Assistant Manager. In FC United’s statement, Reynold’s stated “His knowledge at this level is exceptional and has a proven track record of recruiting and developing players” which is bound to get many FC United fans excited for the upcoming season after having such an unsettled squad for the majority of last season. The United faithful will be looking forward to seeing new faces enter Broadhurst Park, as well as seeing some familiar ones hopefully returning for another season at the club.

Since Richardson’s arrival, many FC fans are now looking forward to the season ahead. With having an experienced management team at this level will be a great asset for the club to have in trying to jump straight back up into the National League North, as well as attracting many players to potentially come and play for the team in red!

We Look Back at Curzon Ashton’s Season Roller Coaster and What Could Be In Store For The Nash Next Season

I think a fair few Curzon Ashton supporters are sporting a few extra grey hairs at the end of this season. It been a somewhat dramatic one with some remarkable moments but, plenty of games fans would be keen to forget.

The season started promisingly enough with an away win at Darlington. A strong October, then results started to dip with the temperatures and there wasn’t a league win for the Nash in November.

There was the surprise and slightly tempestuous dismissal of manager John Flanagan, who had been at the club since 2011. It was not a smooth start for Mark Bradshaw either, with the Nash losing three of four games in December, including to league struggles Ashton United and FC United. This left Curzon Ashton with the very real possibility of being in a battle to stay up.

New year, new Nash, as Curzon entered the new year with a bang and totted up four wins on the bounce, including against high flyers Chester. This lead to a lot of talk about an unlikely bid for a play off place. Wins against Alfreton (In possibly the most bizarre game I’ve seen ever) and Hereford further strengthened this claim, before there was a bit of a bump down to earth with an away loss to Brackley and a thumping at home to Altrincham.

They looked to make a speedy recovery with a draw against high flyers Bradford Park Avenue followed by two further wins.

However, it all seemed to go a bit Pete Tong in the league, managing to be the first team since October that Guiseley pick up three points off, and not winning another league game, including ending the season with a 5-0 loss at home.

All was not lost, however, as Curzon flew through to the final round of the Manchester Premier cup and saw off Mossley comfortably in the final. This really gave fans something to cheer in a difficult season.

So what’s next for Curzon?

This is a tough league to get out of but on their day, The Nash are a good enough side to make them something to really be feared.

I’ve banged the drum about needing to make sure that they tighten up their back line. They are good up front but conceded far to many goals. Sharpen this up, draw a line under a difficult end of season and hopefully come into the next season fully wound up and ready to go and make an impact.

We Look Back at FC United’s First Relegation Season But What Have They Learnt To Bounce Straight Back.

This season has been a rollercoaster for FC United of Manchester, having three different managers and making unwanted history by getting relegated for the first time ever in their 14 year history.

The start of their season seemed to suggest how their fourth season in the National League North might go after losing 5-1 to local rivals Stockport County in their opening fixture. They also threw away a 3-1 lead to a newly promoted Ashton United, who went on to beat the Moston outfit 4-3. This campaign has seen FC win just one home league match, which was against Curzon Ashton.

If the Red’s had any chance of staying up, they would be relying on their away record which saw them win nine games on the road, to strong teams such as Altrincham, Blyth, Bradford Park Avenue and Telford to name a few. With such a poor home record, United had spent the majority of the season in the bottom three, which lead fan’s to believe throughout the season that relegation was on the cards.

The 2018/19 season also saw United have three managers. Player/Manager Tom Greaves took charge for what was set-up to be his first whole season managing the club, however, just a month into the season saw Greaves step down from his position to make way for the caretaker manager and ex-FC player, Dave Chadwick. Chaddy managed the Red’s for just over a month with ex-Bamber Bridge manager, Neil Reynolds, coming to the club in October to manage United.

In a season that has seen a lot of changes for the Mancunian side with the management, their has also been a lot of changes on the field. With United playing 57 different players throughout the season, which has impacted the performances on the field with their not being a stable set of 11 players to play week in, week out.

Overall, this campaign has been a big learning curve for FC and Neil Reynolds will be looking back at areas he will want to change and improve on for next season in the Northern Premier League. The main one I would suggest would to be having a set squad and line up, to build up a strong squad and by not bringing in new players every week it won’t disturb the flow. Neil Reynold’s will be able to build his own squad this season, which will benefit him as he won’t be inheriting any players that he may not want in his team.

FC United Travel to Alfreton, Reynolds WIll Be Looking to Go Out With a Bang

At the start of their football packed Easter weekend, FC United travel to North Street to face Alfreton Town in their penultimate away game of the 2018/19 season in the National League North. United currently sit 21st, 7 points from safety, meaning if Guiseley match FC’s result this weekend it will confirm the relegation that has been on the cards for several weeks, if not months. This will create unwanted history for FC as they will face their first ever relegation in their 14-year history.

With relegation on everyone’s mind at Broadhurst Park, Reynold’s will be hoping to go out with a bang and claim all three points. When the two teams met in late October at Broadhurst Park in what would be Neil Reynold’s second match as manager of the Moston outfit, FC looked to be in control of the match after leading one goal to nil for the majority of the match, only to be cancelled out by a late equaliser by James Clifton in the 88th minute meaning the two teams would share the points.

This will be the fourth time the Manchester team has traveled to Alfreton, winning only once and losing the other two. Last season this fixture was United’s final away match, which finished 1-0 to Alfreton after a goal by Tom Platt on the 24th minute.

With both teams looking to end their season on a high regardless of their poor form, it looks as if Reynold’s men will be aiming for nothing but a win in an attempt to kick off their great escape and survive another season playing at this level. However, many fans will also be keeping an eye on Guiseley and Ashton United’s results as these remaining matches are all to play for in the hope of staying up for another season.


FC United Hope Ashton Can Help Them Close the Gap to Guiseley

This Saturday FC United of Manchester welcome playoff contenders, Kidderminster Harriers, to Broadhurst Park in the Red’s second to last home match of the season. United have lost their form as of late with only one win in five. Kiddy have also dropped the form they will be looking for, if they are looking to finish the season in the playoffs as they have only won two games in their last five but still currently sit in 9th place, 4 points from the playoffs.

United will be looking to see if they can end this poor season on a high and claim all three points in both remaining home fixtures. This campaign has seen only win at home in the league once against local rivals Curzon Ashton in early December, giving them the second poorest home record in the league, first being Nuneaton Borough who have now been officially relegated.

The Red’s away record has seen them win six games on the road, one of which was against Harriers at the Aggborough in what was club legend, Dave Chadwick’s last match as the caretaker manager before Neil Reynolds came to the club. United come from 1-0 down in the reverse fixture, to win 2-1 after Jack Bannister made a statement with two goals to give United all three points.

Tomorrow also sees a huge fixture in the relegation battle as Ashton United travel to Nethermoor Park to face AFC Guiseley. The outcome of this match could impact where FC United will be playing their football next season, as a win for Guiseley would put them nine points clear of FC and with only three matches left to play of the season, this would almost certainly confirm relegation. However, Ashton United now also sit above FC in the table meaning a win for Ashton would put them five points ahead.

It is certainly a big day of football for the Reds tomorrow as it may determine which league United will be in next season. Neil Reynold’s will be looking to make amend on last week’s 2-0 defeat against Darlington, however, many United fans will also have their eye on the Guiseley match in able to prepare for the remaining few fixtures.

FC United Will Look For a Vital 3 Points Against Bottom of The League Nuneaton

FC United welcome Nuneaton Borough to Broadhurst Park this Saturday in the National League North. This will be the Red’s second home fixture within a week as they faced York City on Tuesday night which resulted in a 3-3.

Nuneaton currently sit rock bottom of the table with just 16 points from their 35 matches this season and are currently 20 points from safety. This season has been one that the Boro will want to forget, as there has been many problems the club has faced off the football pitch. The Warwickshire side racked themselves a debt of £32,000 that many believed was too much to pay back and, after their chairman quit in mid February the club was very much in danger of going bust.

The last time these two clubs met was Saturday 29th September which looked to be resulting in a 0-0 draw, however, five minutes from time Enoch Andoh scored a scrappy goal which gave the Boro all three points and put United rock bottom of the table. Therefore, six months on, FC will be hoping to be the ones taking all three points this time around as they are now currently five points adrift of safety.

The Red’s ended up throwing away a 3-1 lead on Tuesday night which resulted in a 3-3 draw against a 10 man York City. To make matters worse, Guiseley also beat Curzon Ashton on that night which extended their lead above FC in the table.

This weekend’s match is a must win for Nuneaton as anything other than a victory will delay the almost inevitable relegation. However, the three points are also crucial for the men in red, as they could potentially give them hope that they will continue to play their football at this level for another season.

United go into this game with the better form with Nuneaton losing their last 6 matches. However, with both teams fighting for the points Saturday’s match is set up to be a thrilling encounter and, definitely not one to be missed. With only six matches left in the Red Rebel’s current campaign, it is all to play for!

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