20th Jan, 2019

Carter returns to Alvechurch but Willets is ruled out

ALVECHURCH’S delight at welcoming back Ash Carter will be offset by the disappointment at losing fellow defender Jamie Willets to injury.

Church boss Ian Long was thrilled to beat rivals including Redditch United and Tamworth to re-sign Carter, one of last season’s promotion heroes who was named in the league’s team of the year, from Nuneaton Borough. The Boro have had to trim their squad for financial reasons and Carter, who had been on contract with the National League North side, had the choice of several options but chose Church.

With the paperwork completed yesterday, he will in contention for the home Southern Premier Central clash against St Neots Town on Saturday.

But Long will have to rule out Willets, a key figure in Alvechurch’s rise to the play-off places, from next week when he undergoes surgery for a groin problem.

“It’s great to have Ash back with us. We all know the quality he’s got and the fact he wanted to come back, despite the offer of better financial packages elsewhere, is a real boost,” said Long.

“He enjoyed his football with us last season and he said that was the deciding factor. The only disapppointment is that we’ve brought in one player, but lost another with Jamie having to go for an op. It’s been giving him grief for a while and he has been playing on painkillers.

“He has been arguably our player of the season and he’s going to be a big miss.”

Alvechurch bounced back last weekend with a first win in five league and cup games with a 2-1 success at Rushall Olympic to climb into fifth place.

Mitch Botfield’s free kick was deflected into the net for Church’s opener at the end of the first half and, although Liam McDonald’s Pics levelled through former Redditch midfielder Ash Sammons’ cracking strike, Kieron Cook bagged the winner on 87 minutes.

Church could have midfielder Ryan Winwood back to face St Neots after a run-out with Wolves Casuals helped boost his fitness.

Long hopes it will be the chance for Alvechurch to attract other football watchers on an international weekend when Aston Villa and Birmingham City and top tier teams are not in action.

“We’re a small village club competing against some big town clubs and the more people who come to support us, the more we can grow,” said Long. “With no Premier League or Championship games, it’s an opportunity for other fans to watch us and we want to put on a performance.”

The home match against Stratford Town, postponed in midweek, has been rescheduled for Tuesday, November 27.

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