Non-League preview: Clubs gear up for start of new season

Steve Diggin (left) is back at Brackley Town for the new season
Steve Diggin (left) is back at Brackley Town for the new season

Jon Brady expects his Brackley Town team to be ‘a lot more competitive’ in National League North this season.

The boss has received the backing of his chairman to bring back some familiar faces and also add some new ones to the squad which narrowly avoided relegation last time round.

Brackley finished 18th, just two points above the drop zone, as Brady successfully steered a low-budget team to safety.

He has moved to strengthen his group this summer, with the Saints’ all-time top scorer Tom Winters being brought back, along with Steve Diggin and Glenn Walker.

Stephan Morley, Sam Smith, Dan Crane, Luke Graham, Richard Batchelor have also arrived as Brackley bid to hold their own in a league that will contain the likes of Stockport County, Tamworth and FC United.

“We’ll be in a stronger position this year than we were last year, which is a huge positive,” said Brady, whose side start their campaign at home to Harrogate Town on Saturday.

“We’ll be a lot more competitive, I feel.

“We’ve brought in eight players for this season and I feel those players will really strengthen us.

“I don’t feel we’re the finished article, but we’ll be a lot more competitive.

“Can we be as good as we were when we reached the play-off final in 2013, who knows?

“We’d love that to happen, but we’d have to have a lot injury free and at the top of their form.”

Brady retained 10 players from last season, repaying them for showing the necessary character to secure survival.

One of the key components of that successful survival mission was former Leicester City and Chelsea centre-back Frank Sinclair.

And the 43-year-old will again play a part in the forthcoming campaign.

“Frank will come onboard on matchdays,” Brady said. “He’ll still be playing and also be part of the coaching staff.

“I’m overwhelmed that Frank enjoyed it last year and that he wants to be involved this year.

“It ties in with what he does, things like Chelsea TV and it’s great that he’s going to be part of our team again.”

Daventry Town

Daventry Town is to become a ‘fans club’ after the latest managerial merry-go-round led to the return of the Foster family, writes MIKE TEBBITT.

The Fosters will take charge of things both on and off the field of play at Communications Park.

Uniquely amongst managers at semi-professional level, boss Darran Foster will be responsible for raising his own players’ budget.

Older brother Nigel has returned as joint club secretary, father John will continue as groundsman at Browns Road while even granddaughter Chloe will be employed as the chef.

Initially, Daventry will have one of Northern League Division One South’s smallest budgets so the primary target this season will be to avoid relegation back into the UCL.

Following the unsuccessful appointments of former Premier League player Mark Kinsella and Allan Smart, returning chairman Iain Humphrey has accepted that big-name managers are not the answer at step four level.

Smart seemed unconcerned that Daventry had neither any signed up players nor a defined weekly budget before the big kick-off at home to NPL title favourites Stafford Rangers on August 15. Foster and his trusty lieutenant Neil Champelovier will address both concerns as a matter of urgency.

Ex-clubhouse manager Jason Lee will return home via Kings Lynn and Kettering to bolster the defence alongside homegrown Adam Confue who has played for the Purple Army at all levels from the UCL Division One to the Southern League.

Striker James Tricks is also prepared to travel twice a week while Adam Creaney and Dan Childs will add a local feel to the squad.


Spencer boss Ben Stone will give his promotion winning squad their chance to establish the Millers back in the top flight.

Sean McBride is back at Kingsthorpe Mill after spells with Newport Pagnell and AFC Rushden & Diamonds.

Long serving striker Paul Pickering has retired while keeper Tom Cooke has swapped his gloves for the referee’s whistle.
Spencer start their UCL Premier Division campaign at home to Harrowby United on Saturday.

Sileby Rangers

Sileby Rangers have added possibly the league’s tallest player to their strikeforce for the new campaign in 6ft 9in Leon Simpson.

Matt Garscadden, Mark Edge, Liam Waddy, Luke Fairlamb, Patrick Beckford, Matt Allton, Zach Williams, Joe Handley and Josh Olowoyo also join.
Sileby Rangers begin their UCL Premier Division bid at Deeping Rangers on Saturday.

Cogenhoe United

New Cooks manager Anton Sambrook is set to rely on familiar faces as his side prepare for the campaign ahead.

Full-back Danny Harmon has moved on to Kettering, while goalkeeper Josh Thomson is having a break from the game.

But otherwise last season’s squad remains intact,with the most notable arrival to date Long Buckby defender Elliott Herbert.
Sambrook’s first UCL Premier Division game as Cooks boss comes at Sleaford Town on Saturday.

Long Buckby

Station Road boss Richard Kay is giving most of his end of campaign line-up the chance to push for promotion back to the UCL Premier Division.

Buckby have lost the services of Coventry-based trio Jean Dakouri, Nkosi Mzungwana and Muzi Ndlovu-Nduna to Coventry United.

Bucks arrivals are Ashley and Calum Yeates, Ezekiel Bonsu, Liam Kenny and Elliott Collins.
Buckby begin the season at St Neots Town Saints on Saturday.

ON Chenecks
Most of last season’s Northants Junior Cup winning squad will be back in action for ON Chenecks in UCL Division One this season.

Chenecks have added Tom Caton and Ben Foster, who have switched from Bugbrooke, while Darren Smith, Perry Moore and Justin McKenzie come in from Woodford United.

The forthcoming season will see Chenecks make history as they compete in the FA Vase for the first time.
Chenecks start the new UCL Division One season at Raunds Town on Saturday.

Woodford United
Woodford United, who will be managed by Arron Parkinson this season,have added a number of new faces to their squad.

Former Cobblers defender Paul Dempsey, James Weale, Joe Henderson, Liam Cope, Ally Keay and Nick Bailie have all been drafted in to boost the UCL Division One bid.
Woodford’s first UCL Division One game of the season is at home to Thrapston Town on Saturday.

Bugbrooke St Michaels
Among the fresh faces in new boss Chris Brown’s squad are Ashley Brown, who was a prolific marksman for Weedon last term, and ex-Irchester front man Voni Maswangani.

Bugbrooke kick-off in UCL Division One at S&L Corby on Saturday.