Winsford United

North West Counties League Premier Division

Last season’s position: Sixteenth

In the end, Blues survived.

And, at one stage, their chances of doing so were receding.

If the overall verdict was a disappointing one, manager Lee Duckworth can still take heart from how his side rolled up their sleeves for a fight during the closing weeks of the campaign.

The goals of Sam Madeley proved crucial, but a supporting cast in which the likes of Kyle McGonigle and Alex Elliott played important roles deserves credit too.

Another early exit from the FA Cup was a blow, while a five-goal hammering of Worksop in the FA Vase was a rare highlight.

Story of the summer

  • Sam Madeley, after scoring 10 goals in 13 games, pledges his future to Winsford
  • Former 1874 Northwich defender Danny Thomas is one of several impressive recruits
  • Winsford confirm they are in talks with Cheshire FA about moving to a purpose-built stadium at Knights Grange

READ > Blues start talks with Cheshire FA over move

New recruits

Adam Barlow MID (from Abbey Hey); Nathan Cotterell FOR (from Nantwich); Jack Disney DEF (from Congleton); Owen Farrell DEF (from Alsager); Dale Jennings MID (from Droylsden); Jack Lever DEF (from 1874 Northwich); D’Arcy O’Connor MID (from Bacup); Danny Thomas DEF (from Maine Road); Joe Wood DEF

Pre-season quote

"I had a long list of targets and have managed to most of them through the door. One or two unexpected signings then followed later.

“We don’t want a repeat of last season and our first objective is to get off to a good start.”

Lee Duckworth (player-manager)

READ > Winsford secure striker's services for next season

How is August looking?

Aug 3, Burscough (a); Aug 6, 1874 Northwich (a); Aug 10, Vauxhall Motors (a) (FAC); Aug 17, Squires Gate (h); Aug 19, Hanley Town (h); Aug 24, Bootle (a); Aug 26, Congleton (a); Aug 31, Gresley (a) (FAV)

Manager’s main challenge

Navigating a testing opening month that includes six away games.

In a broader sense, Lee Duckworth will need to settle quickly on his preferred starting XI.

He has recruited well, perhaps better than in any previous summer, and has selection dilemmas to resolve going into the opening weekend.

Last season he was hampered badly by an inability to select a settled side because of issues with availability and injury, leading to Blues using in excess of 50 players from the first minute in league fixtures.

Last season’s results: W10 D8 L20

FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round

FA Vase First Round

Macron Cup First Round

Cheshire FA Senior Cup Last 16

Mid-Cheshire District FA Senior Cup Runners-up

First name on the team-sheet

Steve Jenyons

The former Knutsford captain was restricted by injury to 22 starts in all competitions last season.

However his performances were so good that it was still enough time to persuade Blues to offer him a contract.

Has been restricted again by fitness problems this summer, but once healthy there will be few better central defenders operating at this level.

His partnership at the back with Danny Thomas, should Will Foster secure a deal higher up the non-league pyramid he is hoping for, is a solid foundation on which to build.

Past five seasons: Sixteenth; Fourteenth; Thirteenth; Fourteenth; Twelfth

Pre-season results

Jul 6, Abbey Hey (a) 2-1; Jul 9, Sandbach Utd (a) 2-1; Jul 13, Curzon Ashton (h) 3-0; Jul 16, Nantwich Town (h) 2-0; Jul 20, Prescot Cables (h) 1-0; Jul 24, Barnton (a) 0-1; Jul 27, Oldham Athletic under 18s (h) 4-3; Jul 30, Knutsford (a) 3-1