Brighouse Town AFC was dealt a blow this week as another talented player, centre-back Matty Nebard, left the team to join rival club Pontefract Collieries in the Pitching In NPL East Division One. Nebard, who is based in Leeds, has returned to his former club after spending three seasons with Brighouse Town.
This unexpected move has surprised and disappointed Town supporters, who highly regarded Nebard for his strong defensive performances. Despite facing injury setbacks in the past two seasons, including a broken arm and a knee injury, Nebard has consistently shown resilience and made remarkable recoveries.
Manager Vill Powell has been busy assembling the Town squad for the upcoming 2023-24 season. The team resumed training on Tuesday night, with their first league game scheduled for August 12. There is also a possibility of an Emirates FA Cup preliminary round cup-tie taking place the week before.
Powell has recently appointed an additional assistant manager, Zeph Thomas, who will work alongside long-serving No.2 Stacy Reed. Thomas had served as the team’s coach for the last three months of the previous season. Despite experiencing injury troubles last term, there is speculation that the 34-year-old former Boston United and Cowdenbeath striker might sign on again to provide cover for any potential injuries to the strike force.
A notable addition to the coaching staff is Louis Axcell, who previously managed NCEL club Maltby Main. With the NPL granting permission to register players from yesterday, Powell expressed confidence in rebuilding a strong squad for the upcoming season. Among the players set to train for trials is 19-year-old Joe Holmes, a former Clifton Rangers Youth midfield player who stood out in Town’s U-23 season last year.
With only nine days remaining until their first pre-season home friendly against Farsley Celtic on Saturday, July 1, the players have a busy schedule ahead. They will also face Eccleshill United on Tuesday, July 4, AFC Emley on Saturday, July 8, and Bradford City on Tuesday, July 11. The admission fee for all these friendlies will be £7 for adults, £5 for concessions, and £2 for juniors aged 12-17. The Early Bird offer for season tickets is set to expire on Friday, June 30. Fans who are unable to purchase their tickets online but plan to attend the Farsley friendly can collect their passes on that day.
Meanwhile, the club’s groundsman and general manager, Darren Laycock, has been facing challenges maintaining the pitch due to dry and hot conditions. However, he expressed satisfaction with the rain that fell over the past weekend, Monday, and Tuesday morning, which helped alleviate some of the difficulties.
Brighouse Town AFC’s vibrant junior section has recently established a mini-academy for children aged 3-6, which takes place on Saturday mornings from 9 am to 10 am. This initiative aims to nurture young talent and promote the development of football skills.
In addition, Brighouse Town Women’s team, led by manager and former long-term player Cara Mahoney, is seeking to expand its roster for the upcoming season in the West Riding County FA Women’s League. Mahoney, who had a successful playing career with Brighouse Town Women under manager Rob Mitchell (now with FC Halifax Town), will guide the newly formed team as they start their journey in the lower levels of the women’s football pyramid. The aim is to eventually progress to Level 3 in the women’s game and establish a strong presence in the league. Trials for prospective players will be held on Sunday, July 2.