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28th Oct, 2021

Kirby links up with Holtham at new-look Alvechurch

NEW Alvechurch manager Dean Holtham says Matt Kirby’s ability as a talent-spotter will be a huge plus in their bid to turn their fortunes around.

Former Cadbury Athletic and Northfeld Town boss Kirby will team up as Holtham’s new assistant for the first time on Saturday when the Church visit play-off contenders Biggleswade Town in the BetVictor Southern Premier Central.

Last weekend’s 4-0 defeat at Lowestoft Town – a fifth league loss in a row – left the Lye Meadow side above the drop zone on goal difference but Holtham has already begun a squad revamp by signing attacking trio Kieron Cook, Louis Monaghan, and Jazz Luckie, plus midfielder Theo Llewellyn and defender Joe Hull.

He hopes Kirby’s experience with eight years in charge at Cadbury and six at Northfield, building successful teams without any money, will be a big plus in helping Church to climb the table.

“Matt is exactly the type of person who I feel will help the club progress,” he said.

“Non-League is littered with top players he first worked with and that is a testament to his work ethic. George Carline, who is currently on loan to Leamington from Solihull Moors, is just one example, and there are many more.

“When it became apparent that Matt was willing to become my number two, I jumped at the chance. We’re in a tough place at the moment and we’ve got nowhere near the money some of our neighbouring clubs have so the type of players we look to get in are perhaps a little down the pecking order at their respective clubs or they’re playing further down the pyramid.”

Church chairman Richard Thorndike confirmed Holtham as the permanent successor to Darren Byfield last week and the boss has quickly added highly-regarded Monaghan from Redditch United, former Redditch, Chasetown and Stratford forward Luckie from Rugby and welcomed back Cook from Stourbridge. Hull has moved from Bromsgrove and Llewellyn has returned to Lye Meadow via Mangotsfield.

“We considered enquiries from a number of candidates, some from higher up the pyramid but we feel that Dean is the right man for the job given the challenges which lie ahead,” said Thorndike.

“After working with the group for two weeks, Dean was brutally honest and stated that the squad wasn’t strong enough to compete properly at this level. The league doesn’t lie and the reason we are where we are currently is obvious. He has already moved to bring some players in and will look to move some out soon.

“Defensively we have been fairly sound with one of the better ‘goals against’ records but we’ve been struggling to find the net. As such it was clear which area of the park needed addressing.

“It will take time to gel the squad, it’s like we’re back to square one but with Dean’s strong leadership and vast experience, I’m confident we’ll start winning points and climbing the table.”

Church’s home game against Coalville Town, which was called of on Tuesday due to a waterlogged pitch, has been rearranged for Tuesday January 28.


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