Northern Counties East League: Paul Webster’s season preview

Brian Johnston (left) is the new manager of Armthorpe Welfare.
Brian Johnston (left) is the new manager of Armthorpe Welfare.

Armthorpe Welfare and Maltby Main both have new managers at the helm for the start of the new Toolstation NCEL season.

It has been a much quieter close season at Rossington Main where Steve Lodge embarks on his second full season in charge.

Armthorpe appointed Brian Johnston on a permanent basis over the summer following the resignation of Leo Fortune-West.

Johnston will be looking to make his mark on the team after inconsistency last term saw Welfare flirt with relegation, eventually finishing just four points above the Premier Division drop zone.

A 3-0 victory over Ossett Albion last weekend raised optimism around Church Street ahead of the new campaign.

Rossington’s Lodge is prepared to be patient in his search for new players.

The Main boss has yet to make his first signing and looks set to go with the majority of the squad that finished 18th in the NCEL Division One last term.

Lodge has not ruled out any last minute arrivals but the Main boss could wait until next month to do his business.

It has been an eventful summer at Maltby Main.

Chris Dunn stepped down at the end of last season due to work commitments.

The Miners then appointed Martin Barnsfield who no sooner changed his mind, instead deciding to stay at Millmoor Juniors.

Former Arnold Town boss Gary Hayward was quickly appointed but he left by mutual consent following the arrival of a new chairman Graham McCormick.

McCormick’s first task was to name experienced Brian Cusworth as player/manager.

Ins and outs

Armthorpe have retained the services of last season’s Player of the Year Steve Garner, along with new captain Craig Morley, Stuart Preston, Chris Davies, Richard Smith, Ben Muirhead, Jay Rollins and Darren Mansaram.

Defenders John Turney and Daniel Taylor, along with midfielder Jonathan Mirfin, have all joined from Rossington Main.

Maltby have added experienced defender Darryl Winter and midfielder Andrew Wood from Worksop Parramore, as well as highly rated defender Joe Betts.

This weekend

Armthorpe Welfare face a difficult start to their Premier Division campaign on Saturday with a trip to newly promoted Athersley Recreation, while Maltby Main begin at home to Heanor Town.

Rossington host league new comers Dronfield Town in Division One.