16th Nov, 2019

Tonks arrives to aid push

Redditch Editorial 14th Feb, 2019

ALVECHURCH have moved to sign midfielder Tom Tonks to help ensure they are equipped to maintain their unexpected play-off challenge.

Ian Long and Richard Colwell, who confirmed their Church futures in last week’s Standard, admitted they would be disappointed now to miss out on finishing in the top five after a storming return to the Southern Premier.

Last weekend’s 3-0 win against Bedworth United left them fifth, one point behind third-placed Stratford Town, with a third of the season to play.

The challenge continues on Saturday when Church entertain Biggleswade Town, who lie a point behind having played a game more, and Tonks is expected to be available for his debut after agreeing to join from Stourbridge.

The former Solihull Moors midfielder is no stranger to boss Long, having played for him at Tipton Town, Long’s first managerial appointment. Although an ankle operation ruled him out of the first part of the season, Tonks has been getting match practice with Darren Byfield’s Walsall Wood.

“Tom has been coming back from injury and he has not been featuring in Stourbridge’s first team. With the way they’ve been going, he hasn’t had too many games so he contacted me to see if I was interested,” said Long.

“I spoke to (manager) Gary Hackett and they have waived the seven days so we’ve been able to get everything sorted.

“Tom knows he’s going to have to battle get into our team. Dave Bellis, Tom Turton, Mitch Botfield and latterly Rahis Nabi since he joined have done well in midfield.

“We felt it was the right time to strengthen. We want to make sure we will be covered for the run-in. Tom played for me and was my captain at Tipton when he was 20 and he has got plenty of experience.”

Alvechurch made it five wins in six games after defeating Bedworth last weekend at Lye Meadow, but Long was far from satisfied.

Turton opened the scoring on the half hour with a penalty after Josh March was fouled and Kieron Cook doubled the lead four minutes later when he tapped home following another strong run by March.

Taylor Morrison rounded off the scoring with a superb break and finish with 20 minutes left.

“We still can do better,” said Long. “There’s no pressure on us and we are massively overachieving, especially with the finances other clubs have got. There’s still 14 games to go in what is a tough league.

“We could lose half of them and finish mid-table which would be disappointing. We want to stay in the hunt for the play-offs and we think that’s achievable.”

Defender Ash Carter serves the third and final match of his suspension, while playmaker Lee Chilton is rated ‘touch and go’ after picking up a groin injury.

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