BURY AFC is taking shape thanks to a clutch of new signings ahead of their inaugural season.

Manager Andy Welsh has been busy building a squad in preparation for life in North West Counties League Division One North.

Following on from the trio of arrivals we reported in the Bury Times last week, Welsh has made a further SIX signings.

Strikers Aaron Dwyer and Mitch Bryant, central midfielders Kristian Holt and Tony Whitehead, winger George Blackwell and full back Matty Williams have all put pen to paper on deals at Stainton Park.

Dwyer has vast experience across the local non-league scene despite still only being 24, having played for the likes of Cheadle Town, Stockport Town, Mossley, New Mills, Curzon Ashton in National League North and, more recently, for Wythenshawe Town in the North West Counties League.

His versatility is also an asset for Welsh, as well as his potential.

“He’s a great lad and he is such an exciting player when he gets on the ball. He can play a number of positions, gets goals, and gets assists," said the Bury AFC boss.
"Aaron has the ability to play at a much higher level and he will be a huge player for us this season and hopefully years to come.”

Bryant will add to the ammunition, after finishing last season as Colwyn Bay's 14-goal top scorer, while also adding 12 assists.

A product of Manchester United's Academy, the 29-year-old signed his first professional contract with Reading in 2008 but never played for the Royals. Instead he was loaned out to Basingstoke Town and went on to sign for a number of non-league teams including Hungerford Town and Cambridge City before returning to Manchester in 2014.

Bryant had spells with Mossley, Trafford, Clitheroe and Runcorn Linnets before joining Colwyn Bay last summer.

The forward has had a nomadic semi-professional career but of his move to Bury AFC he said: "To say I’m excited to be joining Bury AFC is an understatement. To be a part of the project being started here is something I couldn’t ignore. Getting games back on and fans in the ground is something we can’t wait for. I’m sure the fans will be excited by the squad the gaffer is putting together and we can really make this first season one to remember.”

Manager Welsh added: “Mitch leads the line with his experience and helps bring others into play, I’ve no doubt the fans will love him.

"Without kicking a ball the expectation on us is huge. The experience Mitch has is very important and will add to the spine of our team both on and off the field."

And Welsh hopes former West Didsbury and Chorlton captain Holt can have a similar impact in the middle of the park, along with Whitehead.

“With Kris, we know what we are getting – someone who will look to dominate the game with his play and push others around him," said the boss.

“We will need goals from all areas this season and Kris will chip in with his fair share of goals and assists, but most importantly will be able to break play up, get on the ball to keep us ticking.”

In landing former Limerick FC and Stalybridge Celtic man Whitehead, Welsh said it was a coup for the new club.

“We’ve no doubt Tony could have gone higher than the level he was at. He sees this move looking at our end goal and focus of what we want to achieve," he said.

"This is a big plus with Tony on board, as we continue to build the squad and this addition brings great competition now in the centre of the pitch.

“He has high expectations for this season himself and he is a very driven and motivated character which is key to the type of character we want at this club.”

Welsh is also delighted to have former New Mills and Stockport Town left winger Blackwell and ex-Mossley and Radcliffe Borough right back Williams on board too.

“We now feel we have very healthy competition in the attacking areas. George has a got great qualities and will give us balance on the left side," said the Bury AFC chief.

"Matty has come with a great reputation and we can see why in training as both his work rate and attitude is outstanding. I’m looking forward to helping him develop his game and career with us here."