Squad takes shape for opener

Ramsbottom United managers Mark Fell and Paul Fildes have been busy finalising their squad for the start of the Evo-Stik NPL Division 1 campaign by adding a further five players to the ranks.  Two of the signings are well known to Rammy fans as Tom Hartley and Tom Coulson signed up for another season at the HWRS.

 

Striker Hartley has made 13 appearances from the bench in the last two seasons, his only goal coming against Harrogate Railway in the league cup QF in 2015, but the skilful youngster is certainly seen as one for the future by the current management.

Coulson is an ex-Fleetwood Town scholar who came to Ramsbottom on loan last season making four appearances, another local lad who has an excellent passing ability and will continue his development into men's football at the HWRS.

There are also three new faces arriving at the club in the shape of young midfielders Olly Crankshaw and Sam Dickinson, along with experienced defender Lee Botham.

Botham, a 31-year-old Preston-based centre half who has bags of Evo-Stik of NWCFL experience was drafted in to help during a defensive injury crisis against Bolton in pre-season, but played so well he earned himself a deal with the Rams.

Crankshaw arrives from Preston North End where he played from the age of 12 under Mark Fell who coached with the Lillywhites at the time.  A skilful winger who can also be used at full-back if needed, has already impressed during pre-season training and is certainly a potential star in the making should he take to the open-age game as is expected.

Dickinson arrives off the back of brief spells at Clitheroe, Colne and Padiham, he's also a product of Bury's Academy having played in the same side as Jake Cliffe.

With a heavy work schedule in the opening weeks of the season, squad depth will play a major role and Fell and Fildes now have strength in all areas as they begin the campaign at home to Goole on Saturday.

THE RAMSBOTTOM UNITED SQUAD for 2016/2017 SEASON
1 - Chris Cheetham
2 - Josh Dunroe
3 - Matthew Atherton
4 - Dean Stott
5 - Nia Bayunu (vice-captain)
6 - Paul Linwood
7 - Alex Meaney
8 - Samuel Freakes
9 - Jason Hart
10 - Gareth Seddon (captain)
11 - Darren Green
12 - Jake Cliffe
13 - Ben Jackson
14 - Olly Crankshaw
15 - Joel Pilkington
16 - Luke Thompson
17 - Zack Hargreaves
19 - Matt Taylor
20 - Tom Hartley
21 - Tom Coulson
22 - Jamie Rother
23 - Sam Dickinson
24 - Lee Botham