Phil Parkinson has sent out a statement of intent about Altrincham’s promotion ambitions by further reinforcing his squad with two more new signings.
Determined to keep Alty at the forefront of the battle for play-off places in the Vanarama National League North, the Robins boss has strengthened his hand for the run-in by landing midfielder Mason Fawns from Curzon Ashton and securing highly-rated winger Yusifu Ceesay on loan for the rest of the season from Blackpool.
With experienced keeper Steven Drench joining from Bradford (Park Avenue) last week, and Wigan Athletic striker Joe Piggott arriving on loan, it’s a sign Parkinson intends equipping Alty for any eventuality in the remaining two-and-a-half months of the campaign.
Ceesay is an exciting young talent snapped up by Blackpool last summer after he played a starring role in Alvechurch’s promotion from the Evo-Stik Division One South.
Born in Spain, the 23-year old trained with Blackpool, Port Vale and Nuneaton Borough during the summer and made such a positive impact at Bloomfield Road that the League One side awarded him a two-year contract, with an option for a third year.
Lightning pace being one of his main assets, the left-sided midfielder particularly impressed in a pre-season game at Nantwich, where he set up the opening Blackpool goal for Mark Cullen in a 2-1 win.
After hearing Blackpool had won the scramble to sign him, his manager at Alvechurch Ian Long, who had signed him from Willenhall-based Midland League Premier Division Sporting Khalsa the previous summer, said: ‘I hope he does well in League One and makes the most of this opportunity.
‘He’s got flaws at the moment – which non-League player hasn’t? – but Blackpool will work on those and iron them out. With his pace and ability, he has got the attributes to be a top player.’
Sensing he needed game time to develop, Blackpool immediately loaned him to Boston United, where he wasted no time making his mark, coming off the bench to play a part in his new team’s second goal by Nathan Arnold in a 2-0 win at Stockport County.
He then had a loan spell at AFC Telford United at the end of November, and he spent last month on loan at Nuneaton.
Manchester-born Fawns turned 20 last month and arrives at Alty with a growing reputation as an attacking midfielder with an eye for goal.
He joined Curzon Ashton last summer after being released by Oldham, where he scored four goals in 14 appearances for Tony Philliskirk’s youth side before earning a one-year professional contract from then-manager John Sheridan in June, 2017.
He made four first-team appearances for Oldham and gained Vanarama National League experience with Fylde after joining them on loan last January and staying until the end of the season.
His release came after Oldham’s relegation to League Two, but he quickly endeared himself to Curzon fans with a spectacular 20-yard free-kick into the top corner in the Tameside derby with Ashton United. It briefly gave Curzon hope, drawing them level at 1-1, though Ashton went on to take the honours with a 4-2 win.
Both players have signed in time for Saturday’s match at FC United of Manchester, and everyone at The J.Davidson Stadium wishes them every success during their time with us.