Churchmen out to make most of university links

First published in Sport

ALVECHURCH boss Ross Thorpe is hoping a link-up with University of Birmingham could help to find the stars of the future.

The Churchmen have signed up Gareth Howell and John Pykett, both of whom play for the university’s senior men’s team, which is currently second in the BUCS MARS Midlands Division One A.

Thorpe is old friends with coach Rob Williams and intends to leave no stone unturned in order to find new players for Alvechurch.

He cited the example of Redditch-born striker Joe Lolley’s meteoric rise to stardom.

The former University of Central Lancashire student caught the eye playing for the British Universities and Colleges team in the World Summer Games last summer and earned a move to Kidderminster Harriers.

The 21-year-old scored 11 goals to earn a transfer from the Conference Premier to League One Championship side Huddersfield Town last week and Thorpe said: “To be fair the standard University of Birmingham play at is very good.

“I’ve known Rob for a long time and it’s a chance to access players who we don’t normally see on the local scene.

“We are in the process of setting up a youth and girls section and it would be great that in a year’s time there was a structure at the club.”

Alvechurch’s enforced break from playing continued on Saturday as their game against Heather St John’s was postponed because of a waterlogged pitch. It means the Churchmen have not played a game since December 28.

While the break allowed injured players to recover, Thorpe is worried about the repercussions on the rest of the season.

He said: “At first the break allowed us to get a few players back from injury, but now I am worried about the sharpness.

“Games are being called off quite late on Saturday mornings and that means we’re not able to book in somewhere and play a friendly or train.

“I tried to book some time on the 3G pitch at Sutton, but they are so booked up even they cannot use it.

“We will have quite a few games at the end of the season and I will have to bolster our numbers to make sure we get through.”

Alvechurch will be hoping they get back in action on Saturday, when they play Causeway United.

The Black Country side play at Halesowen Town, one of the few pitches in the region which has survived the wet weather (3pm ko).

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