WITH kick-off to the new Evo-Stik Premier Division season less than a week away, Jordan Eyre assesses Salford City’s fortunes for the year ahead…
The Ammies enjoyed a superb season in 2014/15, as joint managers Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley ensured the club powered to promotion as champions. Salford bookended a dismal run of form around Christmas – a spell which saw previous manager Phil Power dismissed – with remarkable consistency.
The club began the season with an 11-match unbeaten run, but four wins from the next 11 over the festive period saw them lose ground on then-league leaders Darlington 1883.
However, the appointment of Johnson and Morley revived the club’s fortunes, and the management duo oversaw a nine-match winning streak at the end of the season to earn promotion – a run which culminated in a 5-0 win over Ossett Town at Moor Lane to add gloss to a progressive and successful season.
Stephen O’Halloran (Left-back from Stockport County): The 27-year-old former Aston Villa man brings a wealth of experience to Moor Lane, and will be crucial to the club’s plans for the forthcoming season.
Josh Hancock (Central midfielder from Witton Albion): With a keen eye for goal, Hancock will bring an extra cutting edge to the club, and can be expected to chip in with a few goals this season. Described on Salford’s website as an ‘exciting arrival’.
Luke Giverin (Central midfielder from Hyde): Began his career with Manchester United, before making 20 first team appearances for Belgian outfit Royal Antwerp. The 22-year-old can also play at left-back.
Luke Clark (Central midfielder from Witton Albion): The youngster has spent time at Everton, Preston North End and Accrington Stanley in his career and, having enjoyed a good campaign with Witton, links up with Hancock once more for the season ahead.
Shelton Payne (Attacker from FC United of Manchester): The Cardiff-born frontman can play either up front or on the wing, and will bolster the ‘quality and finishing power’ of the club’s attacking options.
Tunji Moses (Central midfielder from Stockport County): The 31-year-old is no stranger to Ammies fans, as the experienced man played a part in the club’s North West Counties League promotion season.
Paul Linwood (To Connah’s Quay, free): The defender joined Salford from Chester last year, and went on to make 35 appearances in his one and only season at Moor Lane.
Shelton Payne (To Ramsbottom United, free): The former Trafford striker leaves the club having joined earlier this summer, as he joins former Ammies striker Jon Robinson’s side.
Sam Madeley (To FC United, free): The striker scored 20 goals in 45 appearances for Salford last term, but has opted for a slight change of scenery as he joins FC United by mutual consent.
Chris Lynch: Salford’s captain enjoyed a stellar campaign for the club last season, impressing at the heart of defence and weighing in with a couple of goals. Lynch’s efforts saw him included in the Evo-Stik First Division North Team of the Year, and he should make the step up comfortably.
Jay Lynch: The former Manchester United and Bolton Wanderers stopper is a crucial member of the side, a notion typified by Salford’s poor run of form that coincided with his absence through injury from October to January. The young keeper will keep improving at this level and will give the club a solid base.
Danny Webber: Perhaps the most high profile name at the club, Salford’s nomadic striker will be once again entrusted with scoring the goals to helping the club stabilise in the Premier Division. 19 goals last season shows Webber still possesses that predatory instinct, and although his partnership with Sam Madeley is no more, the 33-year-old will be the Ammies’ go-to man for goals.
Johnson and Morley’s flying start to life as Salford managers will make them ones to watch out for in the Premier Division. Salford have recruited well and supplemented the core of the promoted squad with shrewd additions.
The loss of Sam Madeley is perhaps the headline story at the club this summer but the Ammies are still a threat going forward and, should they remain fortunate with injuries, a strong showing isn’t beyond them in the season ahead.
By Jordan Eyre
* All signings and transfers out correct as August 12 *