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Five of the non-league’s hottest properties

Five of the non-league’s hottest properties

Matthew Rogerson on 2 March 2013

Matthew Rogerson makes us aware of five players currently impressing in the non-league. Can they go on to bigger and better things?

The Premier League and Football League are full of players who learned their trade in non-league or even Sunday and pub football. The likes of Bradford’s James Hanson and West Brom’s Craig Dawson both know what it’s like to start at the bottom, playing in conditions that would make a ‘wet and windy Tuesday night in Stoke’ seem veritably tropical.

Hanson, having been released by Huddersfield as a schoolboy, worked up from Sunday football through the non-leagues before eventually securing a move from Blue Square Bet North side Guiseley to Bradford City. Similarly Dawson was working at, and playing for, a Manchester pub when he got offered the chance to join Radcliffe Borough and the rest, as they say, is history.

Not all non-league starlets go through that route, with others not getting sufficient chances at high-level clubs and then being snapped up by shrewd non-league managers when they are released.

So, who are the ones to watch in non-league at the minute and how likely are they to be on the move in the near future?

Andre Gray

Luton forward Andre Gray is arguably the Blue Square Bet Premier’s hottest property. After starting life at Shrewsbury Town he trickled down the leagues before hitting form at Hinckley United.

He then got his big move to Luton and hasn’t looked back. A quick, pacy forward with an eye for goal, he notched at Wembley in last year’s play-off final and is also a regular fixture in the England C squad.

Millwall were rumoured to be interested in him but he still has around two years on his contract so any bid to land him would need to be a big one.

Antoni Sarcevic

One of the driving forces of Chester FC’s Blue Square Bet North season, midfielder Sarcevic has a goal tally of 11, which most strikers would be pretty pleased with, let alone someone who operates in the centre of the park.

He started off at Crewe before dropping down to Woodley Sports and promptly moving to the Exacta Stadium, with Chester quickly tying him down on a permanent deal after an initial loan spell.

At just 20 years old he is only going to get better and if the Blues do self destruct and miss out on promotion, there could be a few Conference sides in for him.

Have a look at this special goal to see what all the fuss is about.

Ross Allen

Guernsey striker Ross Allen has a goal record that could almost see him mixing it in the Dean Windass Hall of Fame, so brace yourself goal fiends. The 2010 Channel Islands Sports Personality of the Year nominee has bagged 113 goals in 73 games for the club, making quite a name for himself as a result.

Boss Tony Vance believes he is well capable of going professional while assistant Colin Fallaize is intent on keeping him at the club.

“Scoring goals is what Ross loves doing and that’s what he does. Sometimes it’s sublime, sometimes it’s orthodox and sometimes it’s unorthodox but whatever it is, he’ll score,” he enthused to the BBC recently.

Duncan Watmore

Altrincham’s winger-cum-forward Duncan Watmore is easily one of the Blue Square Bet North’s best players. What sets him apart from the rest? He’s only just turned 18.

Described as an “exception” by gaffer Lee Sinnott, Watmore has electric pace, as can be witnessed with this fine solo effort, and he also has an eye for goal and excellent ball control.

Currently a student, he prefers to spend his time tormenting defences across the country rather than larging it in the union, and is likely to remain at Moss Lane until he’s finished his studies.

However, that’s not stopped clubs such as Peterborough expressing an interest, with Darren Ferguson confirming to the Peterborough Telegraph that, in a non-sinister way, he would “carry on looking at him”.

“We have been made aware of Watmore and we’ve been monitoring him for a while,” he confirmed.

Jamie White

As the Blue Square Bet South’s leading scorer, Salisbury’s Jamie White will no doubt have alerted clubs of a higher stature to his ability as he looks to climb his way back up the leagues.

He started at Southampton, playing three games for the first team, before dropping down to play for a number of clubs in the south of England, with his most successful stint being a 51-goal period at Winchester City.

Salisbury snapped him up and he’s helped power them to joint-top position in the league and, at just 23, if they don’t gain promotion, they could have a fight on their hands to keep him.

These are just a handful of the best talents available and, if clubs have their scouting networks doing their job, they could pick up a real bargain who is hungry to work up the leagues, as opposed to signing someone coming the other way and on the hunt for a last pay cheque.

Seen a player at your local non-league club that could do it at a higher level? Who? Drop it in the comments section below.

Matt Rogerson is a writer and a press officer for Guiseley AFC. You can follow him on twitter here.


Andre Gray is massively over-hyped, any defender with a modicum of pace and skill and he is out of the game. Aswad Thomas (Grimsby) pushed him so far back he ended up a spectator, Thomas just jogged along side him for the full match, even with a start Gray couldn't get away and do anything. One trick pony.
by Giles Cudmore on 02 March 2013 at 09:29 PM

Interesting stuff, I go and watch Altrincham semi-regularly and Watmore is a real talent. As a Crewe fan, I've seen a bit of Sarcevic too, he's got a lot of ability but there were a few question marks about his attitude, although I think that could often be put down to frustration at being unable to break into the first team. He seems to be enjoying regular football at Chester. There was a slight error in the piece by the way, Crewe picked him up from Woodley - not the other way round. When he left Crewe, he went straight to Chester... smile
by Spartacus Mills on 03 March 2013 at 12:46 PM

Bradley Goldberg at Hastings Utd?.. Defiantly skill full enough to play at league 2 level at least as seen by his goal in the FA cup against Middlesbrough
by Dan on 03 March 2013 at 04:15 PM

Jack Obersteller ex Millwall and Exeter City, still only early 20s was named in Blue Square Bet South team of the season.

Arguably one of the best non league left backs. Certainly the best in Blue Square Bet South

Sam Mott

Goalkeeper at Welling United, recently called up to the England C team despite not playing in teh Blue Square Bet Premier.

Welling are top of the league with games in hand probably strengthens the case for the ablve players to be labelled non league hot properties.
by In The Know on 03 March 2013 at 04:26 PM

It's Ross ALLEN, not ALLAN. wink

Kieffer Moore (Truro)
Duncan Watmore (Altrincham)
Daniel Carr (Dulwich Hamlet)
Connor Hall (Bury Town)
Nick Freeman (Histon)
Maison McGeechan (Kendal Town)

by Wes on 04 March 2013 at 01:29 AM

Ryan Brett at Salisbury City is one to watch
by White rabbit on 04 March 2013 at 05:12 AM

Tom Elliott at Cambridge. 14 goals in an injury hit season so far. Pace, power, height. Came through the Leeds youth set up. Expecting him to make a move to the football league in the summer
by Tom Shaw's Fist of Rage on 05 March 2013 at 11:07 AM

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