The Lambs raided Nottingham Forest, Oxford Utd, Gillingham FC, Fulham FC, Crawley Town, Birmingham City, Bury, Barrow, AFC Telford and Accrington Stanley over the summer in an ambitious ploy this term. The huge Peniket (released by Fulham) and Lateef Alliyu from Crawley Town will be a handful up front armed by a very quick and capable midfield quartet but the six-foot soldiers will win this you feel with Wright, Tomlinson and Fairhurst all with points to prove.
Thank you for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs
Tuesday 8th Oct KO 7.45 PM
For a side with what has traditionally been regarded as a bottom third budget, manager Dave Belford and his chairman have certainly pushed the boat out and will surprise a few this season, not unlike Simmo’s Imps. Peniket and centre-midfielder Baker have hit the ground running with three goals apiece, but the side has understandably taken time to gel. The 1-0 defeat of Macc who had gone 3 without defeat suggests they are beginning to click with lightning rod Alliyu getting the winner as well as a booking.
The defence has enjoyed a complete rebuild, but in truth a tough spine runs down this team with 23 bookings and two reds on the board already. This one will be an incident filled battle with a few goals one feels, with the Imps and the Lambs far from shrinking violets. Peniket is huge and skilful, he will provide a very tough test for Boyce and Brown will be at full stretch to contain Alliyu. Miller and Newton (on 4 yellows now) will also have to deal with Wright and Todd, with Evans on the overlap too. The central midfield partnership has yielded 3 goals from Baker and a couple of assist from Kerry
|Position 2012/13||19th in BSP|
|STMI Forecast||Play-off fringes|
|Average Gate||968 (2012/13–993)|
|Away following||61 (2012/13–88)|
The potential Lambs team
Dale Belford 4-4-2
2 Evans 6 Richards-Everton 15 Courtney 19 Capaldi
27 Wright 8 Baker 7 Kerry 20 Todd
17 Peniket 26 Alliyu
The Heroes & Villains
The Summer Plans
Despite losing top scorer Cunnington, as well as Tate, to Cambridge and Marcus Kelly going to Forest Green the side is so much stronger this year. He brings his goalkeeping son in from Bury as a playing assistant and has assembled an admirable back four on paper. In comes Jack Evans from Gillingham, Matt Regan from Forest, imperious Jordan Rose from Telford and Tom Eckerslie from Accrington.
Richie Baker, from Barrow, is the only addition in midfield although the trio in his preferred 4-3-3, the loss of Kelly apart, were none too shabby anyway. Up front the improvement will take some stopping. Peniket from Fulham will plunder this division, Justin Richards certainly still has it in him and Ebanks from Birmingham is top draw. Let us not forget existing hit-man Darren Byfield who most Conference clubs would love to have in their team.
Belford finished 19th last season, after replacing Marcus Law who was relieved of his duties in January. The mission was accomplished last season to halt that alarming slide, but one gets the feeling the Lambs will be well into the top half and perhaps even pushing for the play-offs this time round.
|18th July||Richard Peniket||Fulham||For||Free|
|1st July||Jack Evans||Gillingham||Def||Free|
|25th June||Cameron Belford||Bury||Keeper||Free|
|24th June||Jordan Rose||AFC Telford||Def||Free|
|21st June||Tom Eckerslie||Accrington||Def||Free|
|20th June||Justin Richards||Oxford Utd||For||Free|
|24th May||Richie Baker||Barrow||Mid||Free|
|23rd May||Matt Regan||Nottm Forest||Def||Free|
|17th May||Deqwon Ebanks||Birmingham C||For||Free|
|9th May||Adam Cunnington||Cambridge Utd||For||undis|
|9th May||Richard Tate||Cambridge Utd||Def||undis|
|14th June||Michael Wylde||Alfreton||Mid||Free|
|17th July||Marcus Kelly||Forest Green||Mid||Free|
The Lambs Squad 2013/14
1 Cameron Belford, 23 James Wren, 31 Dale Belford,
2 Jack Evans, 3 Connor Gudger, 4 Tom Eckersley, 5 Jordan Rose, 6 Ben Richards-Everton, 14 Matty Regan, 15 Duane Courtney,
7 Lloyd Kerry, 8 Richie Baker, 11 Jake Jones, 18 Kaiyne Woolery, 24 Scott James, 30 Scott Lindsey,
9 Justin Richards, 10 Darren Byfield, 16 Stuart Hendrie, 17 Peniket, 22 Deqwon Ebanks, 26 Alliyu
Centre-backs Nick Fenton (Man City, Notts County, Doncaster Rovers, Rotherham Utd & Morecambe FC) and Rob Atkinson (Grimsby Town, Fleetwood & Accrington) have eluded Simmo it would appear. Fenton has been offered a deal by Chester FC, with Alfreton also still in talks, whilst Atkinson has signed a new deal at Accrington. To follow the SP and STMI biopic on both the lads.
thanks for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs.
Lincoln currently have Foster on trial but have been in for the two. Foster was composed and classy against Lincoln Utd, but doubts crept in last night at Harrogate. The Fenton deal may also not quite be as dead as the proverbial Dodo though. Nick has spent the last two seasons at Morecambe as he continues to finish a physio course. The course is based at Mansfield suggesting Alfreton or Lincoln, could still be in ‘with a wee’ shout. That said according to the agents grapevine:
“Chester are paying some big money out, I know a few lads who have got some welcome results out of Conference new-boys this summer. Mind Chester’s certainly going the age and experience route, but then they need that to bring an exiting batch through. They’ll be dark horses for the play-offs in my book.”
Nick is still quality, even at 33, a composed class act at Conference level, suggesting ambitious, but experience seeking, Chester will get him. The competition is Alfreton who have gone part-time. Word is they are beating suitors for Tomlinson off with a stick, in the knowledge his heart is already in another place (ours please!). Apologies for the tangent. Nick started out at Manchester City, progressed through the ranks and earned a 5 year first pro deal! He was loaned to Notts County, Bournemouth and then County again before they took the plunge with a £150k transfer fee and a four year deal. He would play 147 League games, plus cup competitions, for County before moving onto Doncaster, a side very much on the rise. They let him go to Grimsby (as a replacement for Big Ben Futcher) along with Ravenhill, as it was felt the Championship was too much for him. This just 1 League and 1 cup game, against Rochdale, into the season. Rotherham came calling and he played 3 seasons as Captain at the Millers through thick and thin. Nick has spent the last two seasons at Morecambe as he continues to finish a physio course.
|Full name||Nicholas Leonard Fenton
|Date of birth||23 November 1979 (age 33)|
|Place of birth||Preston,|
|Height/Weight||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 12st 4lb (78KG)|
|1999–2000||Notts County (loan)||13||(1)|
|2000||Notts County (loan)||8||(0)|
The inspirational centre-back was schooled at Barnsley, one of the Championship’s longest inhabitants and offered a five year deal. He was loaned for experience to Scarborough, Halifax and Rochdale before Grimsby did a try before you buy and then bought him. He went down with the Mariners ship and into the Blue Square before Fleetwood flashed the cash. The other Cod Army signed him as they stormed the BSP on the way to the Football League, with Rob gaining 2 England C caps. He was almost unbeatable that year, but not seen as League material so they released him. Accrington gave a one year deal and have offered the same this season.
|Full name||Robert Guy Atkinson
|Date of birth||29 April 1987 (age 26)
|Place of birth||North Ferriby, England|
|Height/Weight||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 12 st 4lb (78kg)
|Current club||Accrington Stanley|
|2006||Halifax Town (loan)||4||(2)|
|2007–2008||Grimsby Town (loan)||24||(1)|
|2008–2009||Grimsby Town (loan)||9||(1)|
|2009||Grimsby Town (loan)||1||(0)|
|2012||Accrington Stanley (loan)||12||(0)|
Brace bearing Big Bohan Dixon (released by Accrington Stanley) looks set to get another opportunity to earn a contract at Harrogate Town tomorrow night as City travel to a side managed by former Imp Simon Weaver. An hour after writing this the lad agreed to a 1 year deal, so please excuse the title change fellow Imps.
thanks for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs.
Bohan Dixon, the centre-half cum centre-forward is the 6′ 4″ striker STMI gave you the heads up about on last Thursday HERE. He did not disappoint on Saturday, gobbling up his 35 minutes of glory to deliver double trouble on his debut.
The poacher pounced, showing great awareness and acceleration, after Nolan’s drive had been blocked by Saxby. But it was the cheeky, confident finish, that iced it, as he nipped in and nonchalantly chipped the keeper with aplomb. Big bad Bohan second showed pace, strength and power as he finished a fine move from Rowe and Robinson with a firm strike beyond the advancing keeper.
The squad cannot wait for tomorrow’s game, a relish not seen since the era of Keith, Simmo and inspirational physio Oakes.
He looks set to play at Harrogate and could well stake a claim
Former Accrington Stanley striker / defender Bohan Dixon is on trial at Lincoln City. The 6′ 4″ colossus, who hails not far from Chester, could yet be an interesting part of the summer jigsaw if his training exploits are anything to go by.
Thank you for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs
Accrington plucked Bohan out of non-league obscurity last season after spotting him scoring for fun with McGinty’s a Sunday League side. But it was the same old story for Big Bohan, now in the building game (shades of Percy Freeman anyone?) as he failed to dislodge those in front of him. He has spent a lot of his time as a central defender, including Welsh Premier outfit Connah’s Quay, which is perhaps the reason for a lack goals on his bio.
He did have a prolific spell as a striker at Buckley that inspired Hednesford to give him a 6 month deal. Again he failed to break through and was released after two months on a free to Burscough before deciding to go into the construction game with the odd Guinness and goal glut on a Sunday for McGinty’s (in that order). Paul Cook the Accrington manager could not sign him fast enough, gave him a one year deal and then gave him one start plus 4 from the bench before being released this summer.
Keith Alexander used big central defenders in a target man / striking role to good effect with Jamie McCombe and Nat Brown two great examples. Ben Futcher even top scored for the Imps in Keith’s early reign.
He looks set to play at Lincoln United and could well stake a claim
Robbie Fowler (Liverpool), Gannon (Stockport) Coleman (Accrington), Foyle (Hereford) and the Silkmen legend Sammy McIlroy have all been interviewed for the Macc job, with Fowler emerging as the dark horse favourite to get the job. All of this is a frustration for ex boss Simmo, now at the Imps, who is weighing up the cost and availability of former Luton Town schemer John Paul Kissock (as well as 4-5 other Silkmen)
Robbie Fowler (230 goals from 515 aps), amid rumours of Admin and delayed player payments, could be just what the doctor ordered. It is interesting that The Macc CEO has ruled out admin (a consortium or perhaps two are thought to be in the wings). But then Fowler has a host of contacts and would be able to pull in plenty of favours. He would be following in the footsteps of another couple of ex-League stars who have served Macc well in the past. Indeed there is also a growing precedent for ex-players to buy their way in at their first club (not suggesting Robbie would do this of course) with a former Manchester United star doing this at the Silkmen before moving on to greater and more lucrative things. Fowler is in the top 1,000 Brits list, still has a post playing ambition within the game and, has already gained his coaching badges. He has spent time at MK Dons, an big Ince haunt, as well as Muangthong United, a crack Thai side, for whom he replaced Portuguese boss Henrique Calisto last season. He had a 46.7% win rate in Thailand and would surprise a few with an attack minded passing blend of football, boosted by his regular visits to Anfield (still has a season ticket). Fowler is big mates with Steve McMannaman and as they say over there You’ll Never Walk Alone.
All of this is a frustration for Gary Simpson, who is scanning the news feeds on a daily basis, waiting for the Macc released list. He is keen to secure the services of Nat Brown, Tony Diagne, Sam Wedgebury, JP and just about anyone bar Winn, after securing Jake Jones from Walsall.