7th Dec, 2016

Marcus Bignot set for biggest challenge yet as Solihull Moors begin life in the National League

Solihull Editorial 4th Aug, 2016 Updated: 21st Oct, 2016

SURVIVAL is the aim for Solihull Moors as their historic journey at the top of the non-league ladder begins this Saturday with a trip to Sutton United in the National League Premier.

The Moors celebrated the greatest season in their history back in May after winning the National League North following a hugely impressive campaign and Bignot’s side also added the Birmingham Senior Cup to their trophy cabinet.

The squad jetted to Marbella for a much-deserved break before returning to pre-season action where results have been something of a mixed bag.

Now Moors must prepare for their biggest challenge yet as they look to compete against the likes of Wrexham, Tranmere Rovers, Lincoln City and Torquay United, but it all begins with Sutton on Saturday.

“Sutton United were like ourselves, promoted as Champions at the end of last season,” said Bignot. “They took the Vanarama National South title with an impressive ratio of wins against losses throughout the campaign.

“It is, therefore, a unique situation in which we find ourselves when we visit the Borough Sports Ground to open the new season, but one which the whole team here is really relishing.

“This is the second season that the “U” s will play on their 3g synthetic pitch but all the players have trained and played on such surfaces before and I am making no special arrangements prior to the game.

“There are clear business reasons for clubs to go down this route but as I have said before I much prefer football on grass.”

There has been plenty of change of at Moors on the pitch with Bignot still assembling a side capable of competing in a division just which lies just one away from the Football League.

Bignot was boosted by the news that experienced striker Stefan Moore will remain at the club after signing a new deal last month, and Bignot has recruited too with the help of the club’s recruitment officer Ross Thorpe.

Former Barnsley striker Harry White and former Wolves Academy product Charlie Morris has joined the club on a two-year deal, while the likes of Ryan Beswick, Jordan Gough, Connor Franklin, Liam Daly, and Darryl Knights have remained part of Bignot’s squad for the new campaign.

“We have said goodbye to 11 of the title winning team from last season and that has presented challenges over the summer period,” Bignot continued.

“However I am delighted with the nine new players who have signed as a result and with all but one being 24 years old or younger, they bring with them a strength and enthusiasm on which we will build as the season progresses.

“Financial constraints meant we could not put together the type of squad we had last season when all the new players had extensive experience at the level we were at. Now we have to consider younger players with the potential to play well in the top non league in the country.

“It has meant a different recruitment profile and has taken time to assemble  – the new squad has to hit the ground running and evolve.”

There have been changes off the field too with the appointment of Gary Whild as Assistant Manager and but Gavin Cowan has departed over the summer break.

“Bignot added: “I am fortunate to have two very qualified assistants to help me this season, Gary Whild and Mickey Moore.

“Gary has seen both ends of the table in his years with Kidderminster Harriers in the National League and has unearthed some wonderful young players at the same time.

“Mickey Moore has  coached twice in the top echelon of non league plus his successful period with Division 2 Mansfield Town. It is an enviable position!

“On the downside Gavin Cowan , our player coach last season has for personal reasons left the club and I would like to place on record my thanks for all he brought to Solihull Moors   and to wish him every success in the future.”