Bickley signs for Kettering

Football | Published:

JERSEYMAN Lorne Bickley has turned down a return to Hartlepool United in favour of a move to National League North side Kettering Town.

Former Jersey Wanderers forward Lorne Bickley has signed for National League North side Kettering Town

The former De La Salle pupil had been breaking collegiate goalscoring records in the United States with Wilmington University in Delaware before signing for Hartlepool in February. However, the coronavirus outbreak prevented Bickley from making an appearance and he has now decided to chance his arm with the Northamptonshire club.

‘Hartlepool offered me a chance to come back and have another year there but it didn’t feel right,’ said Bickley. ‘With me coming from America and doing what I did in America and being successful out there I wanted to play regularly in England and work my way up there, so when I spoke to the manager Paul Cox, I just bought into what he was saying. He’s got big plans for Kettering and I just wanted to be part of it.

'I thought this would be my best fit. All the players and the backroom staff have been really welcoming. They’ve got a great bunch here.’

The 6-feet 4-inch striker is keen to shed off some rust having not played a competitive match since 2019 and hopes to make his make his mark in the English game after a successful four seasons in the States, where he combined his football studying for a major in sports management.

‘I haven’t played a competitive game since I was last in America,’ said Bickley. ‘Everyone is buzzing to get going again. We’ve had two sessions so far, which was just fitness testing really, but everyone is looking fit right now. We just want to get the season started.

‘You know, of course you’re going to back yourself. I’ve just got to get my head down, work hard and listen to what the coaches say to me.’

Bickley won’t be feeling alone in Kettering as the club is owned by fellow Jerseyman Ritchie Jeune, who helped save the club from extinction in 2013 and has helped orchestrate their rise back towards the top of the non-league pyramid. Kettering's strong links with Jersey started in 1974 when Geoff Vowden was appointed player-manager at the end of a career that included playing over 400 games for Aston Villa, Birmingham City and Nottingham Forest. Vowden, whose nephew Bradley Vowden is the current president of the Jersey Football Association.

The Poppies were due to play Jersey Bulls at Springfield this summer in a pre-season friendly, with their under-13 academy side also visiting the Island to take on Jersey Wanderers under-13s, but due to lockdown measures that has now been re-scheduled to 17 July 2021.

Paul Lees

By Paul Lees
Sports reporter

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