Mander backs McKenzie to prove himself

BROMSGROVE Sporting have offered outcast striker Josh McKenzie a way back into football.

The striker has just completed a three-year ban for pushing referee Chris Wicks while playing for Redditch United in the Southern League clash at Chesham.

The forward was then sacked by Reds chairman Chris Swan but manager Adrian Mander wants to secure his services.

He has been training with The Rouslers and scored in their first pre-season friendly, Saturday's 8-0 trouncing of FC Stratford.

Mander said: "Josh is someone I would love to sign up.

"I've told him to get his head down and concentrate on his football and hopefully we can have him for a bit.

"I know what happened at Redditch but he's served his punishment and deserves a second chance.

"To be fair I've known him for several years and he's a lovely placid guy and I am sure there will be no repeat of what happened at Chesham."

Sporting are certainly building a fearsome forward line ahead of the 2014-15 season in the Midlands Division One.

With last season's top scorer Mark Bellingham and Chris Russell already on board, McKenzie would provide more competition for places, while Chris Conway has also returned to the club.

Conway bagged a hat-trick while Bellingham (2), Danny Campbell and Sean Williams also hit the back of the net at Stratford.

"It was a good run out, we did everything we could in terms of effort and I thought we played some good football," added Mander.

"From now on the games will get harder but it was a pleasing start."

Sporting are hoping to keep much of the squad which did so well last season together but have lost Dan Morris and Matt Poyner to league rivals Studley.

Fans will be expecting Bromsgrove to build on their second-place finish and win automatic promotion to the newly set-up Midlands Premier.

However, with Highgate and big-spending Hinckley Town included in Division One as well as Studley and Atherstone strengthening, Mander expects a close title battle.

He said: "This is season is going to be a battle, it's going to be a very competitive league but I am happy because it should drive up the quality."

Bromsgrove, who played at Tipton last night, go to Redditch United on Saturday (3pm ko).

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