16th Jan, 2021

Manning capture boosts Church's options ahead of testing schedule

Redditch Editorial 19th Oct, 2017 Updated: 19th Oct, 2017

IAN Long will be looking at the versatility of Macauley Manning as another positive to take Alvechurch into a testing run of away fixtures.

Church begin a sequence of three away games in a week on Saturday when they head to Belper Town for an Evo-Stik Northern Premier South contest. Then they head to fellow league newcomers Peterborough Sports on Tuesday before heading east once again to face Cambridge City in the FA Trophy next Saturday.

Manager Long could introduce former Redditch United and Highgate United defender/midfielder Manning into the squad for the trip to the Nailers in a near full-strength squad.

Manning, who left the Reds last month, was due to train with Church last night (Thursday) with a view to signing.

“He can play left back or in a No 10 role and numerous other positions so that would be useful,” said Long.

Alvechurch will also welcome back defender Alex Darlison after injury when they visit Belper and Long is also set to include youth-teamer Ben Tilbury in his plans.

The youth team forward had been due to make his senior debut on Monday, only for the League Cup first round tie at Stourbridge to be postponed because of a floodlight failure at Amblecote. The match has been rearranged for November 6.

“We wanted to have a look at Ben and Stourbridge was the ideal opportunity,” said Long. “Unfortunately it was called off but he is definitely in our thoughts. He can play anywhere across the top, wide, in the middle or in the hole and it suits the way we play.”

After the dismal show at Corby last midweek, Alvechurch bounced back on Saturday with a 2-1 win at home to Chasetown, but they left it late.

Having trailed to Will Whieldon’s free kick on 15 minutes, Church levelled through Jamie Willets’ header on 77 minutes when a Tom Turton free kick was not cleared.

Josh March slotted home the winner in the last minute after collecting a Jamie Ashmore through ball.

Long was delighted with the three points which keep Alvechurch in sixth place, one point behind third placed Stocksbridge with a game in hand, but he admits his players have yet to find their consistency.

“They shaded it in the first half but we dominated the second half and we were worthy winners in the end,” said Long.

“But we haven’t yet put together that complete 90-minute performance.

“Scoring the first goal is massive at this level. You could see how it affected Chasetown with that extra confidence. Teams are better organised at this level and if you give them a start it’s tough.”

Alvechurch, meanwhile, have been given a boost with Ryan Winwood returning to full training. The versatile midfielder has yet to play this season after undergoing a shoulder operation in the close season but he has been the all-clear for full contact training and Long suggested he will be allowed to go out on loan for a spell to get his match sharpness back.

“Ryan is ahead of schedule for his comeback and hopefully we’re looking at the end of November to get him back with us,” added Long.

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