Thursday, August 11, 2011

New-look Rebels set for promotion push this season

 Source: Bury Times

 By Caroline Oatway

 FC United are aiming to go one better when they kick off the new season at Stafford Rangers on Saturday.

The Rebels are among the favourites to secure promotion from the Evo-Stik Premier League after going so close last season and, despite losing three key players over the summer, are looking to make a flying start.

Long-serving goalkeeper Sam Ashton has joined Skelmersdale, with Jerome Wright and Scott McManus, pictured, leaving for Chester and Halifax respectively.

But the Gigg Lane tenants have acted quickly to bring in eight new faces as they look to put last year’s heartbreak behind them.

After being in the bottom three at Christmas, FC, who reached the second round of the FA Cup before losing to Brighton in a replay, soared up the table to make the play-offs before losing 1-0 to Colwyn Bay in the final.

But assistant manager Roy Soule believes this year’s squad is in a better shape to mount a title challenge.

He said: “I feel that this squad has a better balance than last season. It’s more competent, more disciplined and there is more maturity about the players.

“Pre-season has been excellent. We’ve made the lads work really hard and they have responded. We’re really pleased with the lads’ approach and hopefully it will transfer into results on the pitch.”

The Rebels have snapped up former Bury goalkeeper James Spencer and ex-Burnley and Preston North End defender Dean Stott joining from Hyde. Centre-back Adam Jones also arrives, along with Scott Metcalfe, Adam Edwards, Daniel Grimshaw, Chris Horne and Paul Armstrong.

Manager Karl Marginson has also pulled off a coup with the signing of Michael Carr from Stalybridge Celtic. The midfielder has won seven caps for England C, the non-league international team.

FC follow Saturday’s trip to Stafford with a home game against North Ferriby United at Stalybridge’s Bower Fold on Wednesday.