The Evo-Stik League Northern Premier
Published 4th July 2012
....Casswell’s squad returned for their first pre-season training session on Tuesday night.
As expected a number of players have signed from Kidsgrove Athletic following former `Grove boss Peter Ward, who has joined Casswell’s management team to Harrison Park.
Joining the Blues from `Grove are midfielders Sam Hall, Ross Davidson and Karl Charlton along with defender Danny Smith.
Hall has been on Leek’s books previously, having had a spell with the youth team. He was also part of Burton Albion’s youth set-up before joining Hednesford Town.
In June 2009 he left the Pitmen for Kidsgrove, where he established himself as a key player over the past three seasons with some strong performances in midfield.
Davidson is a 22-year-old midfielder who has first-team experience with Port Vale, having made over twenty appearances during 2008 and 2009.
After spells on loan with Stafford Rangers and Nantwich Town, he joined Hednesford and then signed for Kidsgrove in June 2011.
Charlton will be starting his second spell at Harrison Park, having played for the Blues in the 2006/07 season when he was used primarily a central defender.
He signed from Congleton Town and played for Stone Dominoes before joining Kidsgrove.
Now 24, he has been converted into a midfield player with an eye for goal.
Smith has also played for Leek previously. He spent three months at the club from August 2006, making twenty-two appearances and subsequently played for Nantwich and Rocester before signing for Kidsgrove in July 2008.
His performances at right back for `Grove over the last three seasons have resulted in him being named supporters` player of the year in each of those seasons.
Also signing is Rob Stevenson, a winger from Stafford Rangers, who was a target for Casswell last season and he has now landed his man.
He will turn 19 before the season starts but already has considerable experience at NPL level, having spent the 2010/11 as a regular with Market Drayton Town.
Finally, for now, another familiar face returns in the form of central defender Mark Ruddock.
Ruddock originally signed for Leek in June 2008 from Rocester and went on to make exactly 100 appearances before leaving the club in April 2011.
He returns after taking a year out of the game.
Of last season's squad, the following players have put pen-to-paper - Danny Roberts, Tim Sanders, Ashley Woolliscroft, Matt Bradbury, Anthony Danylyk, Christian Millar, Tim Grice, Matt Haddrell and Dan Cope.
Players from last season squad who also attended the first session but have yet to sign include Ricky Bridge, Matt Bell and Jamie Turner. Glyn Mellor was also there but he is due to have an operation shortly.
A handful of triallists were also in attendance along with three members of the newly-formed reserve side in Joe Bailey, Louis Fallows and George Paulley.
Absentees included Aden Johnson and Ben Nixon, who it is believed is talking to league rivals Newcastle Town.