With the new Amateur League season set to get under way this weekend, www.newtownabbeytimes.co.uk takes a look at each of our local teams ahead of Saturday’s big kick-off. We start our preview with Division 1C side 18th Newtownabbey.
The club have a new manager in Garry Campbell, who is no stranger to 18th, having assisted Paul Cargill since the turn of the year. Garry’s number two is an old team-mate from their days at Mossley, Bobby Steele.
Eighteenth have one of the best goalkeepers in the league in Jonny Chambers, who will miss the opening games because of a holiday. However, new signing Scott Hamilton is a more than adequate deputy.
The Monkstown club have been boosted by the return of ‘old boys’ Ricky Moore and Dee Hunter, while having Neil Campbell and Steven Finlay back from injury, is like having two new signings.
There should be goals at this level from much-travelled striker, Stuart Owens.
Opening fixtures: Saturday, 1st Bangor OB (a); Thursday, Newington Rangers (a)
Players in: Stuart Owens, S, Dunmurry Rec; Ricky Moore, S/M, Ballyclare Comrades; Scott Hamilton, G, Grove United; Brian Galloway, M, Bangor Rangers; Dale Hunter, D.
Players out: Ryan Greer, M, Nortel; Brian Greer, S, Nortel; Lee Singleton, G, Ballynure OB; Ross Oliver, G, Nortel.
Key player: Jonny Chambers
Last season: 8th in 1c; 30 points (26 matches)
Prospects: 18th look stronger than the squad which ended last season and will be hoping for a better finish this year, bearing in mind that two of the sides who finished above them - Newington Rangers and Kilroot Rec - have lost so many players.