Phil Parkinson has increased his attacking options after adding 20-year old former Oldham Athletic winger Kallum Mantack to his in-form Altrincham squad.
The pacey Wythenshawe-born midfielder, who can operate on either flank as well as at right-back, trained with his new team-mates on Thursday, after signing for the club.
Though it may seem Alty were already well served in wide areas, John Johnston and Owen Dale have demonstrated the importance of having at least two wingers capable of making an impact and have even been in the same starting line-up in recent games. Dale, of course, is only at the club temporarily, after joining on loan from Crewe Alexandra.
In addition, Mantack is seen as a long-term prospect with the potential to add an extra attacking dimension to Alty’s play and an eagerness to learn and develop under the coaching input of Parkinson and his assistant Neil Sorvel. While welcoming the chance to bring the best out of a youngster who started this season in Stockport County’s squad, Parkinson admitted he was struggling to replace Tom Peers, who joined FC United of Manchester last month, for reasons that reinforce the widely-held assessment of Jordan Hulme as the best centre-forward in the league.
“When you look at Jordan’s current form, it is very difficult to find someone of the right calibre, for the money we can pay, to sit on the bench and effectively be a back-up,” said the Alty boss. “I certainly subscribe to the view that Jordan is the best around. Some might argue about one or two of the Kidderminster players, which is no surprise given the money they’re on, but I think, pound for pound, Jordan is the best striker in the division.”
“It is important to have cover, of course it is, but I feel we have that, in James Poole and Josh Hancock. Both can operate in that position on a short-term basis, if need be. Long term, we may have to find someone.
“There is far more scope for rotation with wingers, which is something I’ve always looked to do, and Kallum will certainly give us a different dimension, as well as cover if needed. He’s only 20 but has already played for Oldham’s first team, as well as being at Stockport last season and up until last month.
“He has been on trial at Blackburn for the last two weeks, but he’s a local lad who is desperate to play for us and develop his career at The J.Davidson Stadium. He is very quick and tricky, and can play on either wing as well as right-back, and I am hopeful we’ll be seeing a lot of him.”