16th Dec, 2019

Church excited by teen ace Yates

Liam Moakes 1st Jun, 2017

MANAGER Ian Long believes new teenage recruit Luke Yates can follow the example of Josh March in becoming a vital figure in an Alvechurch shirt.

Young forward Yates has become the third addition to the treble-winning Churchmen after agreeing to join from Wednesfield.

The Lye Meadow squad continues to take shape, with five existing players also committing themselves to the club as they prepare for their debut season in Northern Premier League Division One South.

Connor Deards, Zack Foster, Ryan Edmunds, Reece Shilvock and Brogan Halpin have all committed as Long bids to build on the nucleus of his history-making squad.

However, there will be changes and the arrival of 17-year-old Yates is one for the future and present.

The youngster bagged 33 goals for West Midlands League Division One side Wednesfield and caught the eye when Church scouts watched the Wolverhampton side in the build-up to the JW Hunt Cup final.

Long said: “Luke is only 17 so we have got to be patient with him, without putting too much pressure on him, but hopefully he can have the same impact as Josh March.

“Josh came in and we took our time with him in his first season and then this year he has been our top scorer.

“It’s going to be a step up for Luke but he has already shown what he’s capable of, scoring 33 goals.

“He’s got decent movement and knows where the back of the net is. He will be with the first team for pre-season and get his chance to showcase his ability.”

March, who netted 36 goals last term, has already been secured on contract and Long and No 2 Richard Colwell have been ticking off the players who secured the Midland League Premier Division crown, Polymac Packaging League Cup and JW Hunt Cup.

Front-runner Deards, full back Foster, midfielders Shilvock and Edmunds and utility youngster Halpin have all agreed to stay and talks with key defender Jamie Willets will be taking place this weekend after he returns from a break.

Long added: “We want to keep the nucleus together. It’s important to keep the squad together and keep that momentum going into a new league. The players have got that winning mentality and that togetherness and spirit that comes from winning trophies.”

However, veteran forward Karl Edwards will be leaving Alvechurch. The evergreen striker returned for a second spell from Walsall Wood in mid-season but struggled to get regular starting roles.

“Karl will be leaving. It’s by mutual agreement and simply a lack of football,” said Long. “We wish him all the best.”

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