By Full Contact News and Views
With what seems like the shortest off and pre-season in living memory almost over, the glee of another brand new season is upon us. As we did this time 12 months ago, we take a look at the season ahead to see what can we expect from our Full Contact clients?
The Championship, as ever, promises to be a hugely contested league. Newly promoted Bristol City field client Kieran Agard, so prolific over the last two seasons in League One – can he continue to impress and score goals a division higher? Derby County’s Kelle Roos has joined fellow Championship club Rotherham on a season-long loan and will be looking to make his Football League debut and then establish himself as a Championship goalkeeper. Derby County also employ two talented Full Contact youngsters in winger Alefe Santos, who made his first team debut last season in the League Cup, and prolific Under 21 striker Shaquille McDonald – both will be looking to impress new manager Paul Clement and earn a first-team opportunity. Middlesbrough’s Mark Kitching will be hoping this is the year in which he can make his Football League debut, as he approaches his 20th birthday and Nottingham Forest’s keeper Ross Durrant may look for first team experience out on loan. 18 year old Regan Charles-Cook enjoyed good first-team exposure during Charlton’s pre-season and his rapid progress of late perhaps suggests that a competitive debut will not be too far away.
League One Chesterfield house a number of clients and, under new manager Dean Saunders, Ollie Banks, Gboly Ariyibi and Armand Gnanduillet look set to play key roles for the Spireites whilst young strikers Mani Dieseruvwe and Bermudan Rai Simons will be looking to press their case as the season progresses. Former non-league star Che Adams will be looking to build on the fabulous momentum he created at the end of last season at Sheffield United and again with a strong pre-season; under new manager Nigel Adkins will he play a more central role as the Blades look to mount a promotion challenge? At Fleetwood, trio Ashley Hunter, Akil Wright and Harvey Hodd all have first team aspirations with the former having made already made an impression in League One towards the end of last season. Full Contact boasts two talented young keepers in League One that will be challenging hard for the no.1 jersey ; Coventry’s Reice Charles-Cook and Barnsley’s Christian Dibble (both of whom coincidentally excelled on loan to Nuneaton last season). Richard Brindley finished the season in fine form on loan at Colchester United, who he has now joined permanently, and will be looking to enjoy regular football and ought to establish himself as one of the best full-backs in the division. Mickey Demetriou at promoted Shrewsbury has progressed from non-league via a great season in League Two and can make the step up again. Young winger Marcus Harness will continue his development under Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink’s Burton Albion, whilst at the opposite end of the experience spectrum, David Fox has joined Crewe Alexandra to bring leadership and midfield quality to the young Alex. Finishing off the League One roster at Full Contact we are excited to see how two young strikers progress: Amadou Bakayoko at Walsall has a big season ahead of him whilst Souleymane Coulibaly’s pre-season form provides hope that he can regain the form which saw him win a Golden Boot in the Under 17 World Cup; Peterborough fans look out!
In League Two, Bermudan Reggie Lambe plans to have a big season at Mansfield after a very late arrival to the UK last season thwarted rapid progress, whilst Adi Yussuf – one of Full Contact’s non-league sensations last season – joins him at the One Call Stadium keen to prove he can comfortably make the step up to professional football. Luton pulled off what may prove to be a shrewd coup in signing experienced Magnus Okuonghae whilst James Clarke can’t wait to get started in the Football League after his excellent performances at Woking earned him a move to Bristol Rovers. Finally, Belgian left-back Bryan Van den Bogaert has arrived on UK shores for the first time and looks to build a career starting from Crawley Town.
Full Contact has just one client currently plying his trade in Ireland ; Bermudan no.1 keeper Freddy Hall’s season at Limerick is already well advanced and he is, as ever, catching the eye with some stand out performances.
A huge year is ahead for our young professionals at Premier League development squads; Joel Taylor of Stoke City needs a big season and to progress from Under 21 football, whilst newly arrived young keeper Jasko Keranovic looks to make an early impression at WBA.
Turning to non-league, where Full Contact clients have so frequently made their name, this season’s National League (formerly the Conference Premier) appears to be of a seriously high standard. Alex Fisher will be aiming to get amongst the goals for Torquay United, whilst joining him at the Gulls is young wing wizard Shepherd Murombedzi. Former Colchester defender Kevin Lokko has moved to Welling United in search of senior first team football and could be set for a big season and young keeper Liam Sharpe will be hoping to make big strides this season at Wrexham after impressing out on loan last year. Completing our National League roster, Jordan Wynter hopes to recover from a long-term injury to show his true ability at Cheltenham Town where youngster James Bowen also hopes to win a regular starting place.
Will there be, however, more Full Contact gems this season lurking in non-league beneath the National League? Who might this year follow in the footseps of the likes of Che Adams, Ashley Hunter, Akil Wright and Rai Simons who all moved from the Evo-Stik Premier division to League One? The players hoping to be this year’s stars include Joe Doyle, Joe Burgess, Haydn Goddard and Jahquil Kumari-Hill at Ilkeston, Callum Chettle at Nuneaton, Jay Lynch at Salford, Nathan Fox at Concord Rangers, Freddie Ladapo at Margate and Harry White at Gloucester City (the latter already the subject of an early pre-season transfer bid). More experienced non-league heads Bradley Bubb and Obi Anoruo are expected to fire in lots of goals at Oxford City and Gloucester City respectively.
A massive ten months or so awaits those Full Contact scholars entering the final year of their football education and striving to turn professional – Jack Storer at Stevenage, Tom Matthews at QPR, Greg Purvis at Sunderland and Corey Taylor and Callum Nicholas at Aston Villa and Liverpool respectively. Full Contact’s first year scholar setting out on his first-year journey is an Australian keeper who has moved to Reading, Liam Driscoll.
So here we go…….another season is upon us. It is only hard work, dedication and a desire to succeed that will propel the careers of each and every client this season to the next stage: our job is to give them that platform and all the support and guidance they need.
To end with a quote from a master of another sport; basketball legend Michael Jordan.
“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
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About Full Contact
Full Contact News and Views includes articles contributed by Associates and professional contacts within the Full Contact team and includes opinion on sports law, PR and media, football agency and more.
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