Less than a week before the Lilywhites start the new Evo-stik NPL season at Radcliffe Borough, co-managers Peter Band and Lloyd Morrison are unsure about the state of their squad because both physios are hurt.
Jackie Duncan has damaged her knee playing hockey, and Tom Smyth has an injured ankle. Said Band: “We know some of the players have knocks but we can’t make a full assessment until we find a stand-in physio to take a look.
“It’s an odd situation. I’ve never heard of a club having all its physios injured before. By the end of the week we’ll know how things are and anyone who isn’t fully fit won’t be forced to play. We’ve got a big enough squad so we can give people the time to get right.”
Band is happy with the squad he has put together at Seel Park, and admits to being in upbeat mood, but he is expecting a tougher season than last year when Mossley finished seventh in the first division north and missed out on a play-off place by only two points.
“I’m optimistic and I want to build on last year, but it’s going to be tough because the other teams will know what we’re about this time round. Last season we were the hunters and had a great run after new year. This time we’ll be the hunted,” Band explained.
“We’ve got a difficult start with matches against Radcliffe, Trafford and Clitheroe. Danny Johnson has changed the personnel at Radcliffe and Tom Baker is spending some money at Trafford. They’ve signed Jack Dorney from Chorley, and two of our players have gone there – Josh Granite and Porya Ahmadi.
“Then there are sides like Warrington, who made a lot from their televised FA Cup run, and Kendal. And let’s not forget North West Counties League champions Glossop who I’m sure are going to prove a real handful.”
The squad assembled by Band and Morrison is a mixture of signings and returning long-term absentees such as Mitch Bryant, Ryan Marley and Jamie Blair.
New signings include midfielder Luke Horrocks, who featured in Curzon Ashton’s back-to-back promotions; striker Rhys Nevins (New Mills) and central midfielder Sam Howell (Ramsbottom).
Band concluded: “We’ve got training sessions Tuesday and Thursday and then we’re ready for the start. Lloyd and I have concentrated on getting the lads really fit and we’re all looking forward to the challenge.”