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Warrington Town season preview: “I’ll play four strikers if I have to!”

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WARRINGTON Town manager Paul Carden has assembled the club’s strongest ever squad as they look to secure promotion to the next level of the football pyramid.

The heartbreaking end to last season, and the denial of promotion in what otherwise would have been confirmed in any other year, has been put behind the club, who now look forward to a season that they hope will end with them looking forward to National League North football the following season.

Testament to the work of Carden and the club is the sheer number of last season’s squad that have opted to remain, in particular sought after youngster Ben Garrity, captain Mark Roberts and his fellow team of the year nominee Dave Raven.

In fact only five of last season’s squad have departed, and one of those was Marcus Cusani, who only arrived on a short-term deal towards the back end of the campaign.

The quality of the additions that Carden have made will make other teams stand up and take notice. Veteran midfielder Steve Jennings is somewhat of a coup, and has the ability and track record to be a stand-out player at this level and the perfect foil to young Garrity.

Striker Matthew Chadwick is a proven goalscorer and winner at this level, while midfielders Alex Byrne and Scott Sephton add quality and depth. Left-back Louis Barnes was one of the league’s top performers last season and he is arguably an upgrade on his predecessor Alex Whittle.

The addition of Chadwick has Carden with four proven goalscorers at his disposal – alongside veteran Tony Gray, one of the stars of last season in Josh Amis and Connor McCarthy, who returned to the club earlier this year having plundered goals for fun at Runcorn Linnets.

For the new signings, their first challenge will be forcing their way in – especially given the strength of the side.

But for Carden, the luxury of choice is something he’s prepared for even if he admits it will be a challenge to keep everyone happy.

He said: “We’ve probably got three or maybe four positions still up for grabs in that starting 11.

“The quality of the squad we’ve got, we’ve got a lot of strength in depth, maybe even too many – I mean you could probably say if he’s fit Tony (McMillan) will play but that’s about it!

“Keeping them happy will be tough, that’s if the ones that get the shirt keep me happy.

“I said to Chaddy (Matty Chadwick), and he was asking about formations and I said I’m not one of those who sticks rigidly to a formation.

“If players are playing well and we’ve got four strikers who are all scoring, it’ll be a chance we play 4-2-4.

“It’s about competition and it’s the strongest squad we’ve ever had.”

Warrington Town host Morpeth Town at Cantilever Park on Saturday, before a trip to another newly-promoted side in Atherton Collieries on Tuesday evening.

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Journalist and sport content specialist, who is also editor of Love Rugby League. Formerly ran the official website of the Carling Cup, as well as operating a digital services business in Warrington.

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