Non-League Notebook: Inside pre-season preparations at Southport, Warrington Town, Marine, Bootle, Runcorn Linnets and Prescot Cables

Non-League Notepad

Off The Park’s non-league notebook brings you insight into the behind-the-scenes at football clubs around Merseyside.

In the last week, Todd Blayney was appointed as Southport assistant manager and Billy Paynter penned a two-year deal at Runcorn Linnets.

Click here for the first instalment.

At this stage, there is a reluctance for players to be announced outside of the period for clubs in the Northern Premier League and below. The registration window opens from July 1 so as it stands, it is only verbal agreements are currently in place.

In the announcements in recent weeks, it is understood players are arriving on contracts.

Southport FC

Southport confirmed the arrival of two players in the form of Matty Thomson from Bamber Bridge last week and Freddie Sass from Mossley AFC on Thursday.

Off The Park understands there are targets across the pitch while the phrase “big hitters” remains prominent from sources at the club. It was reported last week that the additions within the squad will not affect Port’s push in negotiations. 

Last week, Todd Blayney was confirmed as the new assistant manager. Internally, the Yellows are delighted to acquire the former Burscough manager.

While there were a number of applicants for the job, Watson was left impressed by the 31-year-old after working closely with him at the Steven Gerrard Academy.

It is said that Blayney ticked all the boxes and his enthusiasm, vigour and experience – despite his infancy in coaching terms as he approaches a decade at SGA – as Port look to improve on last season’s displays on the pitch.

Warrington Town

After securing promotion to the National League North for the first time in their history, the priority for Warrington Town at this stage is contract renewals, Off The Park understands.

Discussions are underway and there are hopes to renew most of the squad that helped end their years waiting to break out of the Northern Premier League.

The Yellows will take stock of where they are once there is confirmation of the squad going into the new season. Work is due to begin at the home of Warrington Town to get the facilities up to the level required for Step Three of the Non-League System.

Pre-season is set to commence in late June as they await confirmation of friendlies.

Marine AFC

Marine are set to announce their first arrivals of the summer in the coming weeks with two already through the door at the Marine Travel Arena. Off The Park understands there will be further news regarding players who were previously in discussions over their future with a departure expected.

Pre-season for the Mariners is expected to start at the end of June with the schedule coming together ahead of the club announcing plans for the upcoming season in the forthcoming weeks.

Bootle FC

Discussions continue with targets for Bootle, with possible new arrivals being lined up. Off The Park understands the recruitment process will see players identified through a rigorous and specific process

The loan market could be utilised when clubs begin to open their doors to temporary approaches.

The first-team coaching staff is beginning to come together at Vesty Road. Tim Lees arrived with McNabb after his appointment in March but this summer, Jack Hook will reunite with the former Warrington Rylands boss following their successful time together at Gorsey Lane.

Hook arrives from Skelmersdale United where he played a role in helping them to an 11th-place finish. Caroline Green will also be the new physiotherapist and Chris Watts the new analyst

Pre-season schedule is all but done with a number of clashes with local clubs as the players are set to undergo preparations towards the end of June. 

Runcorn Linnets

This week, Runcorn Linnets were buoyed by Billy Paynter signing a two-year deal with the club following his successful spell as interim boss, it’s been said he jumped at the chance to be given the permanent role. Behind the scenes, there are visions of the former Port Vale striker leading the team to greater heights after suffering their second straight playoff final defeat to Workington AFC. 

Off The Park understands that discussions have begun to retain and release players from the current squad as they continue to monitor targets. Some players will be offered an opportunity to make an impression during a trial in pre-season.

Previously, according to our information, defender Sam Heathcote attracted interest from league champions Macclesfield ahead of their first season in the Northern Premier Division – Premier League next season. 

The defender has agreed terms with the Silkmen, it is understood, and has bid his farewell to fans via social media wishing them success in the future.

Prescot Cables

Off The Park understands Prescot Cables are awaiting FA ratification before confirming a new deal for one of their key players.

Defender Liam Hollett underwent knee surgery on Thursday and results showed that his anterior cruciate ligament was fine but some damage to the medial and lateral collateral ligaments. There are hopes that he will recover in time for the start of the season, if not soon after.

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