Kyle wings his way from the States to the Stags

Steve Riley

Steve Riley

First published in Sport

AFC TOTTON have drafted in an American recruit for the forthcoming Southern Division One South & West campaign.

Kyle O’Brien was introduced to the Testwood Stadium club by fellow midfielder Liam Gilbert who met him while playing college football in California.

“Kyle’s an attacking midfielder who reminds me a lot of one of our former players James Coutts,” said manager Steve Riley.

“He’s a good lad who’s well up to playing at this level and he’s very level-headed too.

“We’ve got international clearance for him and he’s going to be a good addition to the squad.”

O’Brien was on target, along with Joe Maxwell and Taylor Edwards, in Totton’s 3-2 pre-season friendly win at Folland Sports.

That match should have been followed by home warm-ups against Slough Town and AFC Bournemouth, but both had to be cancelled because a problem with the Testwood Stadium water pump stalled work on the pitch.

The Stags are confident Saturday's home friendly against Dorchester Town will get the go-ahead as the clock ticks down towards next week's (August 9) South & West opener at Clevedon Town.

They are due to visit league newcomers Wantage Town, the Hellenic champions, the following Tuesday (August 12) before opening their home campaign against Yate Town on Saturday week (August 16).

“The water pump went and the work wasn’t completed in time to play Bournemouth,” said Riley. “We couldn’t play them here if the pitch wasn’t absolutely right because they would never have wanted to come back again, but there won’t be a problem for the new season.”

Totton opted for more training instead this week with Riley reporting: “We’ve had good numbers turning up. Last Saturday we had 24 in training, so we’ve got a bit of depth to the squad.”

Striker Craig Feeney apart, the Stags have made no major new signings, but Riley said: “We’ve got tried and trusted lads from last season who deserve another go.

“If we can start off as we finished with a bit of confidence, we should be fine.

“It’s a big test for our young lads to see what they learned last season.”

One player who won’t be featuring immediately is dual-signed Fawley AFC midfielder Lewis Ross, who broke a foot bone while on holiday.

“Lewis has broken a metatarsal exactly as he did against Bideford last season, but in the other foot. He’ll be out for a while,” Riley confirmed.

Brockenhurst this week confirmed that defender Jamie Blackburn had left them to sign for Totton.

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