By Ashley Munson
The football season has returned; players and coaches have been working hard behind the scenes pretty much since Salford defeated Fylde in the play-off final. In a far cry from the Premier League’s excessive spending bosses, in the National League clubs have to wheel and deal to enhance their squads.
Nonetheless, Peterborough chairman Darragh MacAnthony did suggest lower league sides followed a style loan draft, similar to NFL playoff favorites, to improve their scope. Still, it did not happen yet and now the time has come to put the pre-season routines and signings to their first true test as the competition gets underway. Here we have a look at five new faces.
5 – EMMANUEL ONARIASE
Dagenham and Redbridge have announced the return of former loanee centre back or right back Onariase after his release from Rotherham. The 22 year old made 29 appearances for the Daggers last year as they finished 18th. The West Ham youth product will be a big player in the coming season and his experience from his time in League Two with Cheltenham where he featured regularly should prove beneficial.
4 – ADAM MCDONNELL
Boreham Wood have made what we think to be a great signing in Irishman McDonnell. McDonnell had only made a handful of appearances for Shelbourne in his native Ireland before then Championship side Ipswich Town snapped him up. He was backed for big things by the Tractor Boys but only made five appearances before a successful loan spell turned permanent with Aldershot. He’s a centre midfielder, but can play on the left, who likes to get the ball down and play. Last season he played 43 games for the Shots netting six goals and three assists as they narrowly avoided relegation. He wasn’t part of the problem though and will certainly add something to his new side.
3 – JOE LEWIS
Torquay have landed highly rated Swansea defender Lewis on a loan deal and it could prove an incredible signing at this level. The teenager has recently been away with the Swans first team for pre-season and has penned a new deal with manager Steve Cooper having high hopes for the lad who’s been in the ranks since aged seven. Lewis’ under 23 coach Cameron Toshack has expressed his delight at the move stating that Lewis will benefit from a year in men’s football. Torquay will benefit from Lewis as well.
2 – MYLES HIPPOLYTE
Hippolyte came through the ranks at Brentford where he was a goal scoring striker, but attitude issues prevented him reaching his potential and he moved north of the border. Now aged 24 and a left winger, Hippolyte has plenty of game time under his belt with his most productive spell being with Falkirk where he bagged 15 goals and created a further 10 in 67 appearances. He’s switched Dunfermline for Yeovil and he could prove hugely influential in the coming campaign.
1 – ARON DAVIES
Davies has been through the latter part of his youth development with Fulham after joining the Cottagers from Bristol City as a teenager but after spending the second half of last season on loan at Maidstone was released allowing Maidenhead to sign him on a free. Davies, who predominantly plays as a right sided centre half, was being tipped to make a breakthrough into Fulham’s first team just 12 months ago after captaining their youth sides at various levels but the club splashed the cash to try and keep afloat in the Premier League and Davies career has taken a different path. At 21 he still has plenty of time on his side and could quite possibly bounce back into the football league.
There you have it, five names, all with years of their careers left but with differing levels of experience. Each of them could make an impression in the National League. Let’s wait and see who adapts to their new surroundings best.