NCEL Division One 2020/21 predictions

The Toolstation Northern Counties East League

We’re pressing ahead with our previews for the new Toolstation Northern Counties East League season. Whether it actually starts or even finishes is a good question? It is certainly going to be the most chaotic and discombobulated season ever held. 

First up is our ‘popular’ predictions for our Yorkshire clubs and Division One is our opening gambit. It is an extremely exciting Division, with three or four clubs outside of Yorkshire also very capable of doing well.

Like always, these predictions are for our Yorkshire clubs and are our opinions. So there’s the health warnings so if you disagree, we’ll just have to agree to disagree. 

Champions Prediction:

Skegness Town 

We’re backing Skegness Town for the Division One title for the second year running. Their side remains as strong and given the challenges most teams will face travelling over there, they should turn their home into a fortress which will be the foundation for their title challenge.

Armthorpe Welfare 

Non League Yorkshire’s Prediction: Mid-Table to Top Ten

Mike Carmody possibly has the strongest side he has since taking over at Armthorpe in 2016 and given the three-or-four years of careful squad building, the club is geared up for a very solid campaign.

Campion 

Non League Yorkshire’s Prediction: Promotion Contenders 

Campion have only strengthened and are another good bet for the top four. Sean Hunter has dropped down a Division to join them and he’s bound to hit 20-plus goals.

East Hull 

Non League Yorkshire’s Prediction: Relegation Candidates 

Emley AFC

Non League Yorkshire’s Prediction: Promotion Contenders 

It should have been Emley’s turn to finally win promotion last season during their sabbatical in the North West Counties.  They have another good chance this year, but the competition is extremely fierce.

Glasshoughton Welfare 

Non League Yorkshire’s Prediction: Top Ten 

Most people’s favourite time of the year is Christmas. Rather than a pet hate, prediction time is Darren Holmes’ and we’re sure will have a magnifying glass in his hand. 

Glasshoughton always overachieve in comparison to our predictions so maybe it is their year for promotion? Whilst they are missing a 20/25-a-season goal-scorer which they had in Nathan Perks last season, Holmes and Lee Vigars’ squad is very hard-working and there is quality in all areas.

Hall Road Rangers 

Non League Yorkshire’s Prediction: Mid-Table to Top Ten

Leon Sewell reinforced his credentials as a fine NCEL manager last season with a steady rebuild of Hall Road. Now the challenge is can they push on into the top ten? 

Hallam

Non League Yorkshire’s Prediction: Promotion Contenders 

With a Premier Division title-winning manager and several title-winning players, Hallam are best-placed to be either second or top in the running for the title. With the fantastic squad they have at their disposal, anything less than top four would be a disappointment. 

Harrogate Railway 

Non League Yorkshire’s Prediction: Bottom half 

Railway are clearly in a better place than they were in March, but the rebuilding of the team will take time. Crucially Mick O’Connell has a core of experience to go alongside his youngsters who are some of the most talented young players in the Division. Patience and time is needed, but Railway will not be whipping boys this year. 

North Ferriby 

Non League Yorkshire’s Prediction: Promotion Contenders 

Ferriby have only added more quality to their strong squad which is more than good enough to finish in the top four.

Nostell Miners Welfare 

Non League Yorkshire’s Prediction: Mid-Table

Just like a few clubs, it is a year of transition for Nostell, now managed by Ian Walker with his band of mostly 18 to 24-year-olds. Don’t be fooled by the ages because there is strong NCEL experience in there – such as Adam Hayton, Joe Wood, Jamie Allsop and Lee Kelsey.

This season is about laying the foundations and looking to the future. There’s no doubt there will be some tough moments to begin with, but if Walker’s masterplan works, in a few years he’ll get to echo the A-Team’s Hannibal and say ‘I love it when a plan comes together’.

Parkgate 

Non League Yorkshire’s Prediction: Mid-Table to Top Ten

Parkgate definitely have the quality to be potential promotion candidates, but we thought that last season and they never got going. They’re another club we’re just going to have wait and see on.

Rossington Main 

Non League Yorkshire’s Prediction: Bottom Half 

Rossington Main had a steady first campaign under Ben Hunter last season and perhaps the bottom half prediction is a little harsh. But Rossington have a tough start with the opening four fixtures being against expected challengers. Those games will give a good indication.

Selby Town 

Non League Yorkshire’s Prediction: Promotion Contenders 

Christian Fox’s Selby were robbed of the title following the FA’s decision to void the season. That will drive his fairly similar side on this year. George Bissett and Mark Simpson are strong signings. The only pre-season blow was losing Josh Rogerson. There’s no doubt that Selby should be there or there abouts.

Swallownest 

Non League Yorkshire’s Prediction: Top Ten

Swallownest are our pick for being the surprise package for the top four. Jordan Stocks has steadily built a strong squad over a few years and they’re reaping the benefits. Last season they proved they can match anyone and we’re sure they will again which could open up a world of new possibilities.

Worsbrough Bridge 

Non League Yorkshire’s Prediction: Bottom Half 

Worsbrough had hoped to mount a promotion challenge and the squad at the beginning of pre-season on paper had plenty of quality. However, a rebuild is required as a substantial number of key players have left over the last month and dropped down to Step 7 because of concerns over the travelling on Saturdays and midweeks – including Ash Emmett, Kieran Hirst, Connor Rollinson, Liam Owen, Calan Rollinson and Dan Palmer. Important defender Billy Rhodes is also out with long-term injury. Clearly with a young side, initially the season will be one of transition and difficult to start with. But if experienced and quality bodies continue to arrive during the rebuild then there’s no reason why Worsbrough can’t push on and potentially look at the top ten and beyond as the campaign unfolds.

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