September 22nd, 2016

Church boss eyes swoop for striker Barlone

Updated: 9:20 am, Sep 15, 2015

ALVECHURCH are planning a move for Coleshill Town hot-shot Luke Barlone to ensure they continue to build on a promising start to the season.

Manager Ian Long has made a seven-day approach for the former Atherstone, Stratford and Barwell goal-getter, who smashed four goals in Coleshill’s recent FA Cup 11-0 drubbing of Ellesmere.

Church’s strikers have yet to fire, despite the team chalking up four wins in a row after beating hosts Dunkirk 4-1 on Saturday and then claiming a 2-1 home victory against Lye Town in midweek, and Long wants to crank up the competition for places.

He admits, though, that he will have to consider letting players leave if any new additions come in.

“You always need to keep looking to improve the squad, and that’s what I’m doing,” said Long. “Barlone is a big lad, and experienced at a higher level so he would put pressure on the other strikers if we can get him.”

Alvechurch are likely to be without injured forward Nicky Turton when they head to Midland Premier leaders Stourport Swifts in the FA Cup on Saturday for what Long describes as their biggest test so far. Swifts are the only Midland Premier team with a 100 per cent winning record and Long has been impressed.

“They are a young side, very energetic and with some good players including Ben Maund up front who was released by Coventry,” added the Church boss.

“It will be a big test for us, it’s another step up, playing a side that has won every game so far.

“The lads know they will have to raise the bar again after good performances against Dunkirk and Lye, but we have got better and better in each game and we are getting match fitter.”

Turton has also been a target for Leek Town but Long says the Dudley-based forward has told him he has no plans to leave.

Turton, who has yet to score this season, was injured against Dunkirk and joins a casualty list which grew after a fierce battle against a physical Lye side.

Mike Wardle faces three weeks out with an ankle injury while fellow defender Mark Smith is rated touch and go for the Swifts game with an abdominal injury. Jack Cresswell (ribs) is another doubt while Luke Paskin and Connor Deards are still working for full fitness.

Sam Williams, however, is in contention after a holiday and Long suggested the whole squad will be utilised as Church follow the Swifts game with a Bank Holiday Monday challenge at Highgate United.

“They are two big games and we will rotate the squad,” Long said. “Playing Stourport will be a tough game anyway and then we play Highgate on Monday when they will be fresh after not having a game on Saturday.”

Alvechurch wasted little time in stamping their authority at Dunkirk after netting three goals in 20 minutes.

Josh March tapped home a Zac Foster cross after just three minutes before a Kieran Bradshaw own goal – diverting a Wardle cross into his net – made it 2-0 on 15 minutes. Four minutes later, skipper Richard Huckfield headed home a Leigh Downing corner.

Tris Whitman cut the deficit on 32 minutes but Danny Ashton made it 4-1 from a Huckfield header three minutes time.

On Tuesday, Alvechurch again started sharply with Karl Edwards notching his first goal of the season and then Huckfield nodded home to make it 2-0 at half time. James Spray replied for Lye late on.

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