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Story posted: Friday, 29th November 1991

Opportunity knocks for new faces
Story courtesy of
Three stirring performances by Frank Northwood’s new look Gresley Rovers have given cause for optimism that the veteran boss’s Moat Ground rebuilding plan is taking off successfully.
The demolition of Oldbury United last week was followed by a truly stirring FA Vase victory over Blakenall the following Saturday and a performance on Tuesday against title-chasing Rushall Olympic that both Northwood and coach Steve Dolby were quick to hail as “our best of the season.”

If nothing else, the displays – that sent a clear warning that Rovers are ready to repeat last season’s heroics in both the West Midlands League and the FA Vase – gave evidence that the new faces Northwood has infused into his side are gradually settling in to their roles.

Frank Nuttall, shuttled between midfield and defence in a string of unconvincing early performances, is a case in point.

The enthusiastic Scot had his best game yet in the blood and thunder battle against Blakenall with Northwood saying: “Frank did a great job.”

Nuttall’s claim to the No 3 shirt has left loyal and dependable defender Martin Dick – one of Rovers’ most consistent players so far this term in my view – in the cold and Northwood said: “It’s hard on Martin, but Frank is a naturally left-footed player and he gives the side a more balanced look.”

The good news for Dick, however, is that, with Nuttall set to begin a lengthy suspension after picking up five bookings, he is virtually guaranteed his place back soon.

Meanwhile, with the likes of Richard Wardle, Jason Minton and the outstanding Stuart Evans all playing themselves into the side and veteran defender Gil Land revelling in a midfield role, Northwood and Dolby face a problem – what to do when skipper Richard Denby returns to full fitness.

Said Dolby: “We have missed Richard but that hasn’t affected the way we’ve played over the last couple of games.

“We’ve got to find a place for him when he’s fit, I think everybody realises that. But we’re going to have to sit down and think about where.

“The balance of the side has been good. Gilly Land has come in and done very well and that means we don’t have to rush Richard back.

“We always knew that Richard Wardle was a quality player and he’s getting better and more confident all the time. He’s had a couple of hard games, a couple physical battles, and he’s not been found wanting.

“Evans attitude has been first class. He sat on the bench for eight weeks without getting a game but now he’s taken his chance. He’s probably not as dominant in the air as Gil but his pace has really showed and he can only get better – he’s a tremendous prospect.”
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League Position
  Team P GD Pts
10 Highgate United 29 -3 38
11 South Normanton Athletic 26 0 37
12 Worcester City 26 11 36
13 AFC Wulfunians 31 -6 36
14 Coventry Sphinx 25 -19 34
15 Tividale 23 -4 27
16 Haughmond 29 -29 26
17 Racing Club Warwick 24 -29 24
18 Lye Town 28 -31 18
19 Gresley 26 -22 16
20 Selston 25 -38 13

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