Thursday, August 09, 2007

Swarbrick and FC United ready for new challenge

Source: North West Evening Mail


BARROW footballer Dave Swarbrick is stepping up another level this season with his league-storming FC United of Manchester team.

The former Barrow AFC and Holker Old Boys attacking midfielder will line-up in Unibond League Division One North as the supporters’ spin-off team look to continue their march up the tiers of English football.

And Swarbrick is optimistic for both his own and his team’s fortunes ahead of the new campaign.

“Pre-season has gone really well. It’s my first full pre-season in a while so I’m feeling good,” said the 23-year-old, who trains twice a week with the squad in the Manchester area.

“The training has been really hard, but all the lads have naturally high levels of fitness.

“I’m confident in myself and the team are definitely confident.

“We recently drew with a strong Kidderminster side and they are a Conference team.”

FC United, formed in 2005 by supporters angry at Malcolm Glazer’s takeover of Manchster United, have shown well in their pre-season friendlies and Swarbrick believes that promotion is a realistic target.

“We’ve played friendlies against teams from higher divisions and we’ve coped well,” said Swarbrick, whose 2006/07 season was disrupted by a knee problem which required an operation.

“I think we’re capable of challenging for the title this season.”

One player Swarbrick will not be lining up alongside this season is Rhodri Giggs — brother of Ryan — who was recently released by the Red Rebels and is rumoured to be joining rivals Curzon Ashton. The opening fixture in FC United’s league campaign is on Saturday, August 18 with a trip to Lancaster City.

And, with former Furness Cavaliers centre-half Chris Lysons now signed up and playing for the Dolly Blues, the season opener could provide a match-up between former team-mates.

“Chris is a good player and I think he can do well in that league,” said Swarbrick.

Lysons could be joined at Giant Axe this coming season by Millom-based ex-AFC striker Carl Waters and Furness Cavaliers frontman Pat Staunton. Both have been trialing for the Dolly Blues during this pre-season.

l Dalton United were held to a goalless draw at home by Garstang in the West Lancs Premier Division on Tuesday night. The Railway Meadow outfit — who won their season opener 3-2 against Barnoldswick — hit the woodwork three times and had two penalty shouts turned down.

Co-manager Jon Balm said: “I was really pleased with our performance, we did everything but score.

“Garstang came to do a job and put 10 men behind the ball.”

During the game, teenager Joel Callister broke his nose and cracked his cheekbone following an accidental clash of heads. He is recovering at home.

Sam Stephens played in goal but is expected to return for Holker Old Boys this Saturday when they begin their North West Counties Division Two campaign at home to Bootle.

l There will be a benefit match for well-known local footballer Andy Baharmanesh this Sunday.

The game between Vickerstown and Barrow AFC reserves will take place at Park Vale (2pm start).

Baharmanesh suffered a serious leg injury while playing for AFC reserves in January.

The horrific injury left the soldier’s army career in tatters.

AFC reserves won their second pre-season friendly when they defeated Bootle 6-3 at Holker Street on Tuesday night.

Tod Bamber (2), Kris Lancaster (2), Phil Morris and Liam Holmes netted for the Bluebirds in a highly-entertaining game.

The Bootle scorers were Andrew Marshall, Wayne Dawson and Steven Moore.

AFC reserve team boss Ian Gay would like to thank Bootle for their co-operation in arranging the fixture.

AFC reserves: C Burns, D Pattinson, G Smith, J MCGoldrick, P Johnson, W Napier, J Gay, K Lancaster, T Bamber, J Jones, P Morris. Subs used: R Grainey, L Holmes.

l There were two preliminary round games in the Paul Wilson Memorial Trophy on Monday night.

Holders BAE Barrow SC reserves beat Furness Cavaliers reserves 5-4 after extra-time.

The scores were tied at 4-4 after 90 minutes, with the extra-time winner coming from player/manager Stuart Walker.

The other scorers for BAE were Stuart Houston, Grant Cumberbatch, Danny Graham and Mark Bonner. Cavs’ scorers were Michael Johnson, Dale Cleece, Steve Morgan and Stephen Lancaster.

In the other game, Furness Athletic (previously called Furness Hotel) began their season with an excellent 2-1 win at Tummerhill against Walney Island.

Their man-of-the-match James McGoldrick scored both goals, with Chris Burns replying for Walney.

The Furness Premier League season starts in earnest this weekend with Premier Division games tomorrow night (6.15pm) and Division One games on Saturday afternoon (2pm.)

Clubs are reminded that results should be texted to 07709 695250 by the home club and should include the scorers from both teams.