Richie Allen

National League North: Salford City sign 5 players as they prepare for summer switch to full-time football

SALFORD CITY have signed 5 players on full-time deals in the build-up to tomorrow’s National League North clash at Harrogate Town.

The ambitious Ammies, co-owned by Man United’s Class of ’92 legends, announced last month that they would be going full-time in the summer.

By then they hope to have won promotion to the National League, with last week’s 2-1 home win over ALTRINCHAM keeping them 4th in the table with just 5 games left.

And the club’s illustrious owners are already preparing the squad for next term with 5 current players committing themselves to Salford for the next 2 seasons – centre-half Billy Priestley, midfielder Scott Burton, striker Jordan Hulme, top scorer Mike Phenix and fellow forward Richie Allen.

Allen, who made a name for himself by scoring a superb goal in last season’s FA Cup win over Notts County on BBC (above), was the only one of those 5 who didn’t feature in last week’s win over Alty.

Salford had taken just 2 points from the previous 9 and were 1-0 down at half-time as Alty’s former Rochdale midfielder Gary Jones rolled back the years with a fine 22-yard volley into the top corner.

And although the visitors had 3 strong penalty shouts as well as hitting the woodwork, the Ammies fought back in the 2nd half, with a Sam Walker penalty and a Simon Grand strike giving them a much-needed win and sealing the Robins’ second successive relegation.

“We said after the Boston game that 3 points against Altrincham was a necessity. Nothing else mattered,” said joint Salford manager Anthony Johnson. “We’re the first to admit that the way we’ve been playing since the Gloucester game hasn’t been good enough, we’ve not been fluid enough. Tactically, at times, we’ve been decent – like Brackley away, Stockport at home – but in terms of the way we’ve played with the ball, it’s been too bitty, a little bit stop-start.

“There were a few home truths spoken at half-time, not just from me and Bernard (Morley) but from the lads themselves. And the way we reacted in the first 20 minutes of the 2nd half, we blew them away. We showed a lot of character to come back.”

Johnson and Morley take their side to Harrogate tomorrow looking to earn their first back-to-back wins since February. Town are 11th after losing their last 2 games, away to Kidderminster and Tamworth, and Sam Walker hopes Salford can get some form going ahead of a potential play-off campaign.

“They’re big games now because it can be our foundation till the end of the season, going towards the play-offs,” said the midfielder. “We can use that and keep building on it.

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(Pictures courtesy of Lee McLean)

“That’s what’s important at this time of the season – momentum, back-to-back wins and, fingers crossed, taking some good form into the play-offs. That’s what we’re striving for.”

Walker’s former club CURZON ASHTON are 6 points behind Harrogate in 12th after a 0-0 draw at home to Gloucester last week and are away to Worcester tomorrow.

FC UNITED are a point further back in 14th after last week’s 2-2 draw at home to Stalybridge Celtic and the Reds visit Bradford Park Avenue.