Pontefract Collieries add to squad in readiness for first Evo-Stik League campaign

New Pontefract Collieries signing Connor Smythe.
New Pontefract Collieries signing Connor Smythe.

Pontefract Collieries have added to their squad ahead of their first campaign in the Evo-Stik League with the signing of left-back Connor Smythe.

After impressing against Colls last season when playing for promotion rivals AFC Mansfield, the highly regarded young left-sided player has moved to the West Yorkshire club and went straight into the team for last Saturday’s friendly at Selby.

Smythe has a growing reputation in the game from spells with Handsworth Parramore and Rainworth MW as well as at Mansfield.

On his acquisition, the Colls management team said: “We are delighted to welcome Connor to the club. He’s a player we’ve admired for a while and once we became aware of his availability we made our interest quite clear to him.

“He’s an attack minded left-back and will give us great options in our style of play going forward.”

Collieries have also announced the signing of young midfield starlet Aleks Starchenko.

The youngster has impressed throughout pre-season with the club and will now link up with the first team squad.

The management team said: “Every one of the management team has been impressed with Aleks’ attitude and ability throughout pre-season. He’s got a lot of natural ability and we can’t wait to work with him further throughout the season.”

Pontefract continued their build-up to the new season with warm-up games against Huddersfield Town U17s and Selby Town.

In Tuesday night’s game against a young side put out by Premiership club Town, it was literally men against boys with Colls running out 11-1 winners.

New boy Smythe scored five times while Tom Dugdale hit a hat-trick and there was one goal each from Vaughan Redford, Jack Greenhough and Eli Hey.

Last Saturday saw Colls suffer their first defeat of pre-season when they went down 3-2 at NCE League side Selby Town.

Surprisingly after scoring 20 goals in their first four warm-ups Colls were left scoreless at half-time and that was despite dominating.

A number of good opportunities were wasted and it came back to hurt them as Selby took the lead when Charlie Clamp put away their first opening.

The hosts added a second after the break through Sam Cable before Redford converted a penalty for Ponte.

Gary Collier made it 3-1 with a fine strike and although Jack Greenhough headed a goal back for Colls it was too late.

Collieries are in action again tonight away to another NCE League team, AFC Emley (7.45pm).

On Saturday Pontefract are back at home to Ramsbottom United (3pm) when they test themselves against Evo-Stik League opposition with their visitors set to play in the West Division in the forthcoming campaign.