Newton Aycliffe boss Deano Browne is looking forward to the Northern League season opener this weekend as the Newtonians go into a new campaign with a raft of fresh faces.
Browne has assembled a strong 22-man squad for the 2018-19 season, with several ins and outs at Moore Lane Park this summer creating a new look and feel to the club.
Twelve players have been brought in as Browne has looked to strengthen with the support of chairman Allan Oliver – that’s after the manager appointed new assistants Sean Tarling and Andrew Jinks earlier in the summer.
Potential debutants for this weekend’s big kick-off include former Sunderland starlet Ryan Noble – a 26-year-old forward who has Premier League experience with the Black Cats, but has spent the last 18 months out with a back injury.
Three other forwards have also joined Aycliffe to give Browne plenty of attacking options.
Aaron Ramsbottom, Northallerton’s top scorer in the second division last season, has joined the club along with Ian Ward from Bishop Auckland and Daniel Kent, who spent last season with Darlington Reserves, Crook Town and Esh Winning.
Browne has also signed Aycliffe lads Conner McEvoy, a midfielder who spent last season with Bishop, and full-back Ross Hutchinson as well as Thomas McAloon, a left winger from Bishop Auckland; James Rowe, a centre midfielder from Thornaby; Tom Gavin, a centre midfielder who spent last season with Whitby and Blyth Spartans; centre-back Ellis Husband, who spent last season with Atlanta Grizzlies in the US; and midfielder Stuart Thompson from Bishop.
To complete the round-up of summer signings, Browne has also drafted in goalkeeper Dan Scott, Crook Town’s first choice shot-stopper who has been brought in as number two to James Winter.
“We’re really pleased with our pre-season and the players we’ve brought in,” Browne told Aycliffe Today.
“Changes were needed, to be fair. We needed some fresh faces as well as some Aycliffe lads in the squad and we’re really pleased with our summer’s work so far.
“All the players have shown fantastic commitment, training three days a week, they’ve all bought in to what we’re trying to do so they’re in great shape.”
Browne says Aycliffe got off to a slow pre-season, but finished their friendly programme strongly.
The Blues took home the Frank Swinburne Memorial Trophy with a 3-0 victory at Northallerton after wins at Liversedge and Garforth Town and a 3-3 draw with Marske United, who won promotion to the Northern Premier League last season.
Aycliffe then finished pre-season with a thumping 8-0 win at Darlington RA on Wednesday night.
The league season kicks off at home to Ryhope CW at Moore Lane this Saturday (3pm).
And Browne said: “We know Gary Pearson will have his Ryhope players fit and well-drilled, but we go into the game in great shape and I’m hopeful we can get off to a good start.
“Our fitness has really come through in some of our friendlies, some of the opposition have really struggled to cope with our endeavour and work-rate, so hopefully we can take that into the start of the league season.”