Ossett United have targeted the best of the NCEL – Benn

Ossett United’s signings: From top left: Harry Viggars, Jack Cowgill, Cameron Clark, Nash Connolly, Eddie Cass, Nathan Keightley, Seon Ripley, Luke Hogg, George Green, Max Dearnley

Wayne Benn says Ossett United have recruited some of the best players the NCEL has to offer.

Although no date has been set for the 2020/21 season, Ossett are one of a few clubs who have taken advantage of the NPL sending out player registrations to secure signatures.

Signings such as former Barnsley centre-half Jack Cowgill, who played for Nostell last season is a stand-out capture. As are Harry Viggars and Nash Connolly from Benn’s old club Hemsworth Miners Welfare. Those two arguably should have made the step-up to the NPL many years ago.

Striker Nathan Keightley and Max Dearnley have left Penistone Church after a title challenge, while Eddie Cass, Luke Hogg and Seon Ripley also join from Hemsworth. 

Every player has been involved in a promotion battle with their previous club and Benn speaks highly of them all.

“The bulk of the new signings from the league below are players who more than deserve the opportunity to step up and who we feel are some of the best players capable of stepping up a league,” Benn told Non League Yorkshire.

“When we were identifying players we looked at the league below for players who had the ability and talent and who were desperate to challenge themselves and move up the leagues.

“All we have tried to do is bring in hungry players of a good age and who are technicality good as well as having pace. That’s the players we have targeted and we believe they will thrive at this level. 

“In my view the likes of Harry Viggars, Eddie Cass, Luke Hogg, Nathan Keightley, Nash Connolly, Max Dearnley, Jack Cowgill and Seon Ripley are more than good enough to step up and prosper in the NPL. They are all talented lads and they all fit the criteria. We’re looking for players with pace and players who are here for the right reasons because we are not offering or throwing around silly money.”

Benn has retained eight players from last season – Jack Stockdill, Tom Greaves, Elliott Harrison, Ross Hardaker, Nick Guest, Aaron Haswell, James Burke and Eddy Busfield. James Knowles and Marko Basic have moved on. 

Alongside the committals from the seven players from the NCEL, Benn has secured committals from former Everton youngster George Green and his old prodigy Cameron Clark. 

Clark, a former Hemsworth captain, was his left-back for many years until he gained experience elsewhere with Athersley Rec and more recently Belper Town. 

As it stands, Ossett have plenty of strength in depth and Benn admits he has weapons in his armoury.

“Forwards-wise, our options were poor last season,” he said.

“We had Tom Greaves and Nick Guest. They were the only strikers. This year we will have Tom Greaves, Nick Guest, Nathan Keightley, Nash Connolly and Seon Ripley. We have five strikers and the formation will vary. 

“Our preferred formation is 4-1-2-3, but formations depend on your players and you adapt to what you have got. There will be times when we play 4-4-2 and there’ll be times when we play 4-1-2-3. Because I now have options at centre-half, there may be times when we play 3-5-2.

“What we need to do when we can train is we put the work in so we’re equally comfortable with each formation. We have no fixed ideal formation at this stage.

“Every position is well-stocked. We’re going to have two left-backs, two right-backs, two centre-halves, four midfielders, five strikers or wide players. There’ll be big competition for players and hopefully that will get that extra 10% out of each player because they’ll know if they don’t perform there is a strong chance they won’t play.”

If you have enjoyed this interview, please watch the video at the bottom of the page and consider making a donation to the not-for-profit organisation NLY Community Sport which provides sport for children and adults with disabilities and learning difficulties. CLICK HERE to visit the JustGiving page.

There is a video at the bottom of the page showing our work.

NLY Community Sport, run by James Grayson and Connor Rollinson, has always had combatting social isolation at the top of our objectives when running our Disability Football teams so when the green light to return is given, our work will play an important role in reintroducing our players, who have disabilities and learning difficulties, back into society.

We have six teams, a mixture of Junior and Adult teams – Nostell MW DFC, Pontefract Pirates, Selby Disability Football Club and the South Yorkshire Superheroes (Barnsley) – across Yorkshire.

Like most organisations, we have been affected financially by the Coronavirus and we have incurred losses which we cannot recover. We have not been hit as badly as other organisations, but we do need raise £2000 to put us back at the level we were at in mid-March and enable us to make a difference once again to our players’ lives in the future, without having financial worries. As each day goes on, a substantial number of our players become further isolated so we need to be ‘ready for action’ when restrictions are lifted.

Any amount raised above £2000 will be put towards new projects (when the world returns to normal) designed to further benefit people with disabilities and learning difficulties. You can learn more about the organisation HERE and on our Facebook page.

Watch the video below to see highlights from our three years as an organisation. The video was produced for our players at the end of March to remind them of good memories from the last three years.

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