County boss Jim Gannon has made his first new signing of the summer, paying an undisclosed fee to bring in attacking midfielder Alex Curran from Colne FC.
The exciting attacker joins the Hatters on a full-time two-year deal with an option for a further year.
Alex was top scorer at Colne FC last season with 21 goals in 44 appearances having previously scored 22 goals in 46 appearances in 2017/2018. The 20-year-old attacking midfielder has been a permanent fixture in Steven Cunningham’s team since he was released by Blackburn Rovers two years ago.
Alex has won the Evo-Stik West Young Player of the Year for the last two years, was named in the Evo-Stik West Team of the Season and was the only player from that level to be named in the overall Evo-Stik team of the year for all divisions including the Premier League for 2018/2019. He also won the Colne FC Player of the Year award last season.
Colne FC had a fantastic season in 2018/19, finishing fourth in the Evo-Stik West before narrowly losing out in the Play Offs against Leek Town. Colne also reached the Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy final where the Reds lost 3-1 to National North side Southport at the University of Bolton Stadium.
Jim Gannon told County’s official website: “I think it is significant that Alex is my first signing of this pre-season. He is the type of player that encourages me with both his personal and professional qualities.
“He came out of a top League club and must have felt lost, but he never gave up on himself or the game and got back in at Colne FC. That appetite for football and commitment to be part of the game is a great quality I’ve always admired. It was in Ashley Williams, Liam Dickinson and Anthony Pilkingtons after they had to find their way through lower non-league to have that second chance.
“Added to that, Alex has shown great quality and very loyal service and commitment to his club. His record is second-to-none for a 20-year-old at that level, but it is his personal qualities and attitude to his club that is also a breath of fresh air for a younger player.
“I didn’t need a scout or agent to tell me that Alex needed a chance at a higher level, it came from the managers of other clubs that have seen him in action. I guess they respect what type of coach I am and I respect their opinion on players. Along each step, there has been nothing but positive feedback on Alex.
“As a club we’ve done everything as professionally as possible and in the right manner, which isn’t always the case in the modern game, and I believe all parties have respected that. It has been a steady process over the last few weeks to get to this stage and I am now pleased to have the chance to work with Alex over the coming seasons.
“Alex strikes me as the type of player that is driven for both his club and himself. The step up to the National League level is a big ask for many of our players, including Alex, but I’m confident that he will become a valuable part of our team.
“He is fortunate that we have a very settled side that is familiar with each other and the way we play. Likewise, we are fortunate that Alex has the skills and game intelligence to adapt to our system and be open to the experience that is to come. I trust that our coaching and the other players’ guidance will help him quickly become an integral part of the team.
“We feel that Alex will develop into a very effective ‘10’ and will provide the creativity, cutting edge and chances that will provide goals for his teammates and himself. Like most ‘10’s he has experienced the challenges of being smothered or man marked and is keen to learn the individual and team tactics that will be the next step in his experience and development. We also feel that he has the skill set and intelligence to play off shape in similar roles from the flank and shifting systems of play should that be required. An exciting project lies ahead and it will need a strong sense of direction, courage and conviction in what we are building.
“We are entering an important stage in the club’s progress. We’re tasting success and progress and in that desire to maintain speed we have to be careful of the problems of haste. We should not forget the lessons we have learnt from the last three years and, in my case, from the period of 2005-2008 during which our progress was fuelled by the emergence of committed young players growing together.
“We have a solid group of players which will provide the solidity and framework for good young players to continue to grow and be added over the coming season. It is my belief that this form of progress will be much more rewarding, successful and lead to the continual progress of the club.”
Welcome to Edgeley Park, Alex!