New striker to boost Town’s great escape bid

RELEGATION-threatened Hucknall Town have snapped up a striker who plundered ten goals in 16 games for one of their divisional rivals earlier this season.

Grant Ryan has been snapped up from Chasetown, who are hot on the heels of the play-off pack in the Evo-Stik League, Premier Division.

He is contracted at Watnall Road until the end of the season and The Yellows are paying 65% of his wages. Chasetown are paying the rest.

The 20-year-old, who lives in Sutton-in-Ashfield, joined Chasetown from Mansfield Town, but has been kept out of the side at The Scholars Ground by other red-hot strikers.

Included in Ryan’s goals for Chasetown this season is a last-gasp extra-time winner in the FA Trophy First Round at Kettering Town, to set up a clash with Grimsby Town.

That led to a magical run to the quarter-finals of the Trophy for Chasetown, where they lost after a replay to, ironically for Ryan, Mansfield.

He was on the substitutes’ bench for The Yellows as they lost 2-1 at Watnall Road to Whitby Town on Wednesday night but did not feature.

Town made two substitutions at half-time and then lost Dean Gent to injury early in the second half, meaning they had used all of their three subs before Ryan had a chance to make an impact.

Yellows manager Tommy Brookbanks said: “He is a local lad who wanted to play closer to home. He is a quick striker who scored ten in 16 games for Chasetown. He is highly rated there.”

Meanwhile, utility man Cashel Walters has been released by The Yellows.

Brookbanks said: “He is a nice lad and not a bad footballer, but he could just not get to the ground on time. We wish him all the best.”

Town’s increasingly forlorn search for their first win of 2011 in the Evo-Stik League, Premier Division isn’t about to get any easier tomorrow (Saturday March 19).

For the visitors to Watnall Road are free-scoring, runaway leaders FC Halifax Town.

The West Yorkshire side are eight points clear of second-placed Colwyn Bay and have three games in hand over them.

They have plundered 82 goals in their 31 matches so far and have a goal-difference of plus-57. The league’s next best is North Ferriby United’s plus-23.

The Yellows were on the end of a 4-0 thumping in front of a massive crowd of 1,191 at the Shay in September.

But Brookbanks was relishing their visit. He said: “We battered them in the first-half at their place. And they won’t be used to our small pitch.

“It is at home so we have to go for the points. We have to go for it now.

“It has been a horrible season, but we have to get out of relegation trouble and push on next season.”

Assistant boss Gary Stones backed up Brookbanks. He said: “They are a good side but they can be beaten.

“Now they are running away with the league they will be feeling confident. So we have got to get at them and upset them.

“They probably won’t be used to our small pitch. We can’t afford to give them a minute.”