SOLIHULL Moors cannot afford any hangover from their play-off final heartache as the 2022-23 season starts on Saturday writes William Rogers
Neal Ardley’s men only ended last term on June 5, when Grimsby Town’s extra-time winner shattered their promotion dream.
But, just two months later, the Moors head to Aldershot Town on Saturday for the opening matchday of the new National League season.
Despite losing striker Kyle Hudlin – the goalscorer in the final at the London Stadium – to Huddersfield Town and bidding farewell to Adam Rooney and Danny Newton at the end of their contracts, Moors have been busy in the transfer market as Ardley tweaks his squad to again push for a place in the EFL.
Midfielders Joey Jones and Callum Whelan have joined on free transfers from Dagenham and Redbridge and Oldham Athletic respectively and forward Josh Kelly has signed from Maidenhead United for an undisclosed fee.
Striker Alex Reid (Stockport), defender Fiacre Kelleher (Bradford) and keeper Louie Moulden (Wolves) have also arrived on loan.
The Moors had a successful pre-season, losing just once, to Walsall, and defeating Birmingham City to lift the Arthur Cup. Moulden, who joined on a six-month loan from Wolves, put in a fine performance against the Blues, thwarting Maxime Colin, Juninho Bacuna and Scott Hogan on several occasions to maintain his clean sheet while defender Callum Howe’s looping header proved the difference between the sides.
Solihull also had a fine win over Alfreton Town, as well as respectable draws against Brackley Town and AFC Telford United.
They ended their warm-up games with a 2-2 win against the Bucks last weekend in a behind-closed-doors friendly at Wolves’ Compton Park training HQ. They had led 2-0 with fit-again Andrew Dallas, last season’s top scorer, netting both goals before Telford hit back through Byron Moore and former Moors defender Harry Flowers.
If Dallas and Joe Sbarra, the top scorers last season, can get firing again, Moors fans will be hoping for many more exciting moments this season.