NCEL season preview: Armthorpe Welfare

Adam Lee
Adam Lee

Armthorpe Welfare boss Brian Johnston knows his side must do better on the road if they are to improve on last season’s 18th place finish.

Welfare won just three of their 22 Premier Division away trips.

Lack of consistency was another problem.

But if Armthorpe can improve on those two areas then a top of the table finish should not be beyond them.

Johnston has retained the nucleus of last season’s squad with just a few notable additions.

Central defender Andrew Walkden has joined the club from Premier Division rivals Retford United and arrives with a solid and reliable reputation.

Armthorpe also fought off interest from other clubs to land Adam Lee.

Striker Lee returns to Church Street for a second spell after hitting 15 goals in his previous stint in 2011.

Another big boost for Johnston comes in the shape of forward Joe Lumsden, who makes his long awaited return after picking up a serious injury at Scarborough in December 2012.

Lumsden has demonstrated his return to full fitness and has scored three goals in four pre-season games.

Another player returning from a long term injury is winger Thomas McLaughlin.

The midfielder did not kick a ball in anger last term after picking up a bad knee injury in pre-season.

According to Johnston, McLaughlin “has the potential to become one of the best wingers in the league”.

In terms of outgoings, Armthorpe have lost David Buck to big spending Shaw Lane Aquaforce.

James Walker and defender Richard Smith, meanwhile, have moved to Retford United.

Armthorpe face a testing start on Saturday.

League new boys Worksop Town are the visitors to Church Street for the league opener.

Worksop were competing in the Evo-Stik Premier Division last term before being hit by financial troubles after the club’s owner walked out at the end of last season.

Next up is a trip to local rivals Parkgate on Tuesday.