Tonight sees the opening friendly of a busy pre-season schedule for both Longlevens and Cirencester Town, with the two sides facing off at Saw Mills later today.
Ahead of the game we take a look at the next generation of talent the Hellenic Premier side have at their disposal tonight and throughout the season.
Longlevens first team manager Mark Moore is looking to the future as he begins his second season in charge at Saw Mills.
Last season saw the introduction of Ollie Long, Rhys Lewis, Tom Powell-Davies, Harry Emmett, Toby Shelton and forward Isaac Johns to the first team and it seems like the youngsters are set for a more prominent role in the first team. Let’s take a look at them.
Firstly we have Ollie Long. Long is seen by many associated with the club as the chosen one. Right-back, centre back or centre midfield he can play anywhere. Long was one of Longlevens’ star performers in the first half of the 2017/18 season, which saw Levens win their first ever FA Vase game and reached the 1st round proper.
Long missed most of the second half of the season through a hip injury that he is just getting over, so whilst he isn’t expected to be fit to start the season expect to see Long have a pivotal role as the season goes on.
Next is the midfield duo of Tom Powell-Davies and Harry Emmett. Powell-Davies came through the ranks at Forest Green Rovers via a scholarship whilst Emmett is a product of the Cheltenham Town youth system. They both found themselves at Longlevens last season and made immediate impacts with 3rds in the Stroud League.
The duo were came off the bench during Longlevens’ home fixture with Highmoor Ibis in early 2018 and are tipped for big things for this season and beyond.
Rhys Lewis turned heads and caught the eye at the very back end of the 2017/18 campaign, putting in good solid performances in both left wing and left back roles. He also appeared a couple of times for the reserve side to conclude their Gloucestershire Northern Senior League season.
Lewis created chances and bagged assists for the first team having produced throughout the whole season for the thirds side. Coming up the non-league ladder Lewis doesn’t possess the Football League youth system experience but what he does possess is the talent to perform at a high level and a pretty decent left foot.
With last season’s top scorer Brad Martin leaving the club, a lot of the goal scoring burden could fall on 18 year old Isaac Johns. Johns was used off the bench throughout the last few months of the season and played up front and on either wing, including a solid left wing performance on a difficult away trip to Bracknell Town.
For a young man he is built like a house and shows good ability that suggests he has a keen eye for the goal. Out of all of the young players coming through at Longlevens he could be the one that can become a real superstar, he has all the attributes its just a case of putting them into practice.
Lastly we have Toby Shelton. A full back by trade (so we are told) but has the physique to play anywhere across the back. He was drafted in for the run in last season and was impressing with his displays before having his season ended prematurely against Woodley United.
The injury was originally thought to be bad but a good rest over the summer has seen him come back stronger and hungrier than before. Having spoken to Mark Moore about him I know how highly he rates the young defender and it’s easy to see why.
Out of the six we anticipate Rhys Lewis and Isaac Johns to start tonight’s pre-season game whilst depending on numbers there should be run outs for Emmett, Powell-Davies and Shelton.
Ollie Long expects to return to training by the time the Hellenic League kicks off on Saturday 4th August.
Ahead of tonight’s game Severn Sport also expects starts for new Longlevens defensive duo, Logan Roach and Kieran Squires – who both agreed to join the club this week.
For the visitors we expect Charlie Griffin to field a strong side including top scorer Ben Whitehead, who re-signed for the club for the new campaign.
If you cannot make the game follow our live coverage on Facebook & Twitter tonight from 7:30pm.
*Cover photo courtesy of Jam Foster