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Collieries Pick Up Two With Port Connections

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Evo-Stik League North club Atherton Collieries have signed attacking midfielder Liam O’Neill and teenager Lewis Doyle.

Former Crewe Alexandra academy player O`Neill spent last season in Wales playing for Airbus UK Broughton.

O’Neill was at Gresty Road from the age of 8 and went up through the ranks at Crewe, being awarded a professional contract in 2015 after helping his side reach the quarter finals of the FA Youth Cup.

He was released by the Alex in the summer of 2016 and moved over to Airbus.

Since leaving the Wingmakers in the summer he has worked with a couple of teams to keep up his fitness.

For the last couple of months he has been training with Vanarama National League North side Southport, but first-team opportunities have been hard to come by due to the form that the Sandgrounders are currently in.

Southport manager Kevin Davies alerted Colls to the promising midfielder and he has been training with under Michael Clegg for the last couple of weeks while the paperwork has been sorted.

Clegg told his club`s official website: “This signing has come at exactly the right time for us. Gaz Peet is a long-term absentee and James Sigsworth has gone training over in America for a few weeks, so we have been left with just two wingers. Liam has shown in training he has lots of ability and living locally I think he is going to fit in straight away.”

Speaking on joining the club, O’Neill said: “I am really happy to be signing for Atherton Collieries.

“It feels like it has been a long wait, but I can’t wait to finally get back to playing. I’ve trained with the first team a few times now while waiting to sign and I feel very comfortable here.

“The lads and management are a top group and I can’t wait to be involved on Saturday.”

Seventeen-year-old midfielder Doyle joins on loan from Southport.

The youngster will see out the remainder of the campaign at The Kensite Stadium before returning to his parent club.

Having been an academy player at Preston North End for seven years, Doyle joined Southport at the start of the season.

He has been involved on a matchday with the first-team five times this campaign and arrives at Colls with a view to gaining experience and helping the club through the backlog of fixtures.

“He has come to us highly recommended by a number of people and we would like to thank everybody at Southport, including Kevin Davies for allowing Lewis to join us for a few months,” said Clegg.

Speaking about his move to Colls, Doyle explained: “I’m really excited at the prospect of trying to get some minutes in a team that are doing really well. I’ve been involved with the first team at Southport a few times now and it’s given me the hunger to get stronger and gain more experience at a high level of non-league football”.


About Author

Former Swansea City and Kettering Town defender who has been managing the likes of Kettering Town u18s, Rothwell Town, Desborough Town and Wellingborough Town for 33 years as well as being technical director at AFC Rushden & Diamonds. Began in non-League journalism as editor of Team Talk magazine back in the early 1990s and then as editor of Non-League Daily, joining Pitchero to set up Pitchero Non-League in January 2011. Also works for the National League.

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