TRAFFORD FC have increased their numbers with the captures of FC United of Manchester striker Mike Norton and Chorley defender Tom Smyth on dual registration terms.

34-year-old Norton is second on FC United’s all-time leading scorers list having netted 94 goals in 221 appearances since arriving at the National League North club in 2010.

Chorley-born Smyth joined his hometown club from Colwyn Bay in the summer of 2014 and made an instant impact alongside Andy Teague in central defence.

But the 24-year-old struggled to win his place back after several spells on the sidelines and will hope to gain regular football with the Evo-Stik First Division North outfit.

Dual registration terms means a non-contract player can play for either team he is registered with at any time but they have to be in different leagues.

Norton attracted FC United’s attention after a goal-filled stint with Tameside rivals Curzon Ashton, for whom he scored over 200 goals in five years including a remarkable 51 in the 2007-08 season.

He immediately became a fans favourite with the Rebels with 32 strikes in his debut campaign – including the famous FA Cup second round winner against Rochdale at Spotland – to earn the player of the year award and later gained the captain’s armband.

Despite making valuable contributions during their time in the Evo-Stik Premier Division, the club’s number nine has since fallen behind last season’s top scorer Tom Greaves, summer signing Sam Madeley and Matthew Wolfenden in the pecking order.

He was also ruled out for several months last season with a cruciate knee ligament injury sustained against Blyth Spartans.

And FC United boss Karl Marginson hopes Norton will get the opportunity to turn out on a regular basis at Shawe View after making a full recovery.

He said in a statement: “He needs to get match fit and used to playing regularly and hopefully he’ll get that at Trafford.

“Like Chris Lynch, who went out on loan to Clitheroe and then came back to FC, we hope that a spell playing regularly will have a similar effect on Mike.”

FC United tweet

Smyth began his career as a striker with Preston North End but was converted to a centre-back whilst captaining their youth side before signing a first professional contract at Deepdale in 2009.

He moved on to League Two club Accrington Stanley a year later and made four first-team outings prior to joining Workington in the sixth-tier initially on loan, then making the switch to Cumbria permanent.

Smyth briefly appeared for Northwich Victoria before spending two years in north Wales with Colwyn Bay in the National League North.

Both players could make their first outings for the North in tonight’s league fixture away to Burscough (September 29).

Trafford, relegated from the Evo-Stik Premier Division last season, currently sit 12th in the table with 12 points from 11 games so far in what is manager Tom Baker’s debut campaign.

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