Celtic bolster their ranks with Mechanics duo

West Allotment Celtic.  Chris Bannon

West Allotment Celtic. Chris Bannon

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West Allotment Celtic have strengthened their cup-winning squad ahead of the next Northern League campaign, bringing in goalkeeper Chris Bannon and experienced centre half Michael Latimer from division two rivals Washington.

Twenty five-year-old stopper Bannon returns for his second spell at Allotment, having also featured for division one side Hebburn Town. With number one keeper Aiden Ames sidelined for the foreseeable future, manager Paul Stoneman believes that Allotment are well-placed to avoid a repeat of last season, when eight different goalkeepers – including two outfield players – featured between the sticks for Allotment.

“Chris is a very good signing. He’s a big presence, and it means we start the season with two excellent keepers, and also have a reliable deputy in Rob Rodgerson, who has signed as cover for us.”

Bannon will be joined at Whitley Park by former teammate Latimer, who featured 41 times for the Mechanics last season in a variety of positions, scoring ten goals in total. Allotment beat off interest from Hebburn Town to secure his signature, and long-time admirer Stoneman was thrilled to finally get his man.

“I’ve been after him ever since he left nearly two years ago. I’m delighted he’s joined the squad. He knows what we as a management team are aiming for this season and he’s after the same thing.”

In addition to the new signings, Allotment have successfully retained the majority of the squad that roared to Memorial Cup success in May and, with pre-season fast approaching, Stoneman is content with the players at his disposal.

“I’m over the moon with our additions, and I’ve told last year’s lads that I’m staying loyal to them, like they did to me last year, when a few had decent offers to move up a league. There will be no more additions, as I believe that last year’s squad was good enough. Add to that the few new lads, and we have one aim: a top three spot and promotion.”