FORMER Alvechurch defender Kyle Morrison is set to return to Lye Meadow and become the newly-promoted club’s fourth signing of the summer.
Centre-back Morrison had played for Church from the age of 16 but was snapped up by Northern Premier side Halesowen Town on the eve of boss Ian Long’s first season in charge three years ago.
However, Morrison will rejoin as Long looks to build on the nucleus of last season’s squad to take on the challenge of Step Three football.
Fourteen of the squad which finished second in the Northern Premier Division One South have already pledged their future to the club although full-back Jamie Ashmore has left, with Redditch United favourites for his signature.
Church have also signed Sutton Coldfield Town skipper Danny O’Callaghan, Carlton Town front-runner Mamoke Akauna and teenage Wednesfield winger Kieron Cook.
O’Callaghan, a close pal of Alvechurch midfield linchpin Tom Turton, has also played at Step Three with AFC Telford and Stourbridge while Akauna, who has moved to study in Leicester, impressed for Carton against Church last season, scoring four goals. Cook is only 17 but Long believes he has the potential to follow the example of ex-Wednesfield youth colleague Luke Yates.
“Kyle was at Alvechurch when I first came from Tividale but he went to Halesowen after he played for us in a friendly against them!” said Long. “He has proved he can play in Premier Division football so it’s great to have him on board.
“Danny is another player with experience at the level. He likes to play in the No 10 pocket but he can play anywhere. He gets goals from midfield and that’s something we have lacked.
“Mamoke played against us a few times and he was a real handful. He is powerful, quick and strong. He contacted me about coming because he was impressed with how we play our football which is good to hear.
“Kieron is only 17 but he’s like Luke Yates in that he likes to take players on. It’s probably more difficult for him because he’s stepping up from Step Six to Step Three, but we’re not going to rush him.”
Alvechurch captain Ash Carter and Turton, who both featured in the league’s team of the season, have been among the players who have committed themselves to the club. The list also includes goalkeepers Charlie Price and Paul Evans, defenders Jamie Willets, Andy Parsons and Zack Foster, midfielders Dave Bellis, Ryan Winwood and Mitch Botfield and forwards Josh March, Nathan Waite, Elliott Reeves and Ben Tilbury. Callum Debar will also be joining training which starts on June 26 at The Hayes.
Church will have to plan ahead without full-back Ashmore, who featured in both back-to-back promotion campaigns. Church made a final, improved offer to keep Ashmore but the sides could not agree terms.
“Jamie said he wanted to stay but he wanted more than we can find for him,” said Long. “We couldn’t get anywhere near what he was looking for so we move on.”
Meanwhile, Babucar Sauane has been part of Jamie Vardy’s V9 Academy in their quest to unearth non-League’s gems.
The brainchild of Leicester City and England World Cup striker Vardy, who started with Stocksbridge Park Steels, the academy features 42 players from across non-League.
They have had a week training at Manchester City’s training complex and will then look to impress professional scouts in showcase games today (Friday).
Vardy is personally funding the week-long experience, which includes various sessions on sports psychology, nutrition and development. The search for a star will feature on Sky Sports later in the summer.