‘Big man’ Mackey will give St Neots options

ST Neots Town’s ‘three-month’ search for a big and bustling centre-forward ended last week when the club signed Ben Mackey from Evesham Town.

Mackey made his debut for the Saints in their 4-1 win over Fleet Town at the Hunts Post Community Stadium on Saturday – immediately impressing his new manager and chairman, and setting up fellow striker Stefan Moore for his second goal of the game.

The former Coventry City trainee, now 25, who recently recovered from a broken leg, came on as a second-half substitute against Fleet, replacing Shane Tolley up front, and his manager was delighted with the way his new ‘big man’ held the ball up.

“That’s the reason we signed him,” said Dennis Greene. “He can hold it up and away from home that has been a problem for us – he gives us more physicality. It means we can get the ball to the front two quicker.

“He came on and showed everyone what he is capable of and he will be an asset to the squad.”

Chairman Mike Kearns added: “We have been looking for that type of player for the last three months.

“He’s a good centre-forward; he’s big, strong and fast, and he’s going to give us an alternate Plan B, or an extra Plan A.

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“We were lightweight in strength up front because Tolley isn’t the strongest of lads and Stef is a touch player – so we were looking for the option to be able to hold the ball up.”

Mackey made his debut for Coventry as a 16-year-old in 2003 – and he remains the youngest player ever to turn out for the Championship club. But he made just three appearances for the Sky Blues before moving on to Leamington, where he quickly became a fans’ favourite, in 2006.

After scoring 57 goals in just 92 games – the kind of record that would interest any manager – Mackey moved to Brackley Town in May 2008 before joining Conference North club Corby Town in 2010. It was in the January of this year, after scoring 10 goals for the Steelemen, that Mackey broke his leg.

Following a 10-month period out of the game, Mackey signed for Southern League Premier Division side Evesham in November, scoring on his debut against former club Leamington.

Meanwhile, St Neots’ away form has been a worry this season with the club routinely dropping points. Then, last week midfielder Neil MacKenzie had his contract mutually terminated – so it was a case of one Mack in, and one Mack out.

And Kearns has indicated that there may be more transfer-market ins and outs in the New Year with promotion from Division One Central of the Southern League still very much the club’s aim. “The budget has to be balanced,” said the chairman. “But in February last year we freshened it up a bit with some very experienced players, and those additions livened the side up and pushed us on to promotion. If we find we have to do that again, we will.”

Kearns also confirmed that full-back Ashley Deeney, who joined the club on loan from Luton Town in September, has now signed a permanent deal.

Read our exclusive interview with St Neots Town chairman Mike Kearns in next week’s edition of the Hunts Post.