NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: One last chance for Ely City players to impress as boss completes another new signing

Ely City boss Brady Stone. picture: IAN CARTER

Ely City boss Brady Stone. picture: IAN CARTER - Credit: Archant

Ely City’s players have one final chance to force their way into boss Brady Stone’s starting line-up for the new season.

The Robins entertain Chatteris Town in a derby friendly at the Unwin Ground tomorrow night (Friday, 7.45pm) in their last fixture ahead of the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division kick-off on August 3.

City have had mixed results in recent days with a 4-0 defeat at Great Shelford (a team who play two levels below them) last Saturday followed by an excellent goalless draw at St Ives Town (who operate two levels higher than Stone's side) on Tuesday night.

Stone said: "The team that starts on Friday will more than likely be very close to that which also begins the season in our first Premier Division game at Gorleston.

"But there are always places up for grabs and the lads all have one last opportunity to impress myself and Martin (assistant boss, Grey), and play their way into the team.

"We have strong competition in all areas and we're going to have the right sort of headache if everyone stays fit and available.

"The result against Great Shelford didn't worry me in the slightest as we had eight players away and had to use lads from the reserves and Under 18s.

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"But I was very pleased with how we performed against a strong St Ives team on Tuesday."

Stone confirmed the capture of teenage midfield prospect Luke Crisp in the wake of the deadlock at St Ives.

Crisp is stepping up two levels from Cambridgeshire County League top-flight side Fulbourn Institute.

He becomes the fourth new City signing of the summer following on from defender Adam Capel, striker Ryan Harnwell and wideman Michael Harvey.

Stone said: "I'm very pleased to get Luke signed and he has a lot of potential. He is tall, strong and clever for his age and also possesses a good football brain.

"He has fitted in well with the other lads and did very well when playing the full 90 minutes again St Ives.

"It was a big test of a player to basically step up four levels to face a Step 3 team after playing at Step 7 last season, but he acquitted himself very well."

* Ely City Under 18s are involved in a Charity Cup clash tonight (Thursday) at the Unwin Ground.

They face Long Melford at 7.45pm with entry made by donation to the Arthur Rank Hospice Charity.