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Who Are The Solihull Moors Trialists?

Who Are The Solihull Moors Trialists?

Three games into pre-season and Liam McDonald is still looking for the final pieces of his proverbial Solihull Moors jigsaw.

He has trialled five player so far in pre-season with four of them playing in at least two matches.

So who are they? Where have they come? Will they earn a deal? We will do our best to try and answer those questions for you.


Jordan Cullinane-Liburd

Position: Defender
Age: 24

Where has he come from?

Started his career as a youth at Leamington before joining Alvechurch. Had a short spell with Tividale but made his name under current Moors boss Liam McDonald at Redditch United where he spent two seasons before departing in 2016 for Stratford Town. He played 10 games for them in the Southern Premier League before re-joining Redditch where he played 30 games, scoring twice.

What type of player is he?

Described by Tividale, one of his former clubs, as an 'excellent young centre-back', 'mature beyond his years' and 'with a great turn of speed'. Judging on what we have seen so far in pre-season, those sentiments are easily understood giving their lowly position in the league pyramid.

Played left-back vs Barwell, centre-back vs Highgate United and right-back against Walsall and has done okay without being particularly outstanding.

At full-back it's a case of judging him against what we have seen in Kalern Thomas and Kristian Green who are flying full-backs, a bit more athletic than Liburd himself. His inability to use his left-foot cost him vs Barwell while against Walsall he was caught flat-footed on a couple of occasions early on with Kouyhar able to drift into space in and around him.

Technically not the strongest but has shown promise as a natural defender who uses his burly frame to his advantage. Hardly a slouch but that alone won't give him a huge advantage against the quality of opposition in the National League.

Will he sign for Solihull Moors?

To a point, it would depend on the amount of options McDonald wants for his defence. Liburd is a bit further ahead than teenager Marshall Willock but it's unlikely he would receive regular first-team football unless we hit another injury crisis with Green, Thomas and, when he returns from injury, Flanagan ahead of him at full-back. The expected arrival of an Ireland U21 centre-half also pushes him further away from the first-team. That said, he would be the kind of honest back-up McDonald knows he can rely on following their time together at Redditch.


Will Mellors-Blair

Position: Winger/Striker
Age: 24

Where has he come from?

Mellors-Blair has had quite the journey in life so far. He started out at Manchester United's academy no less spending years there until his release at 15. He then joined Walsall before moving to America where he played for Detroit City FC, starting 15 matches in his final year as a senior and becoming the club's all-time record goalscorer with 15 goals. He left America and trialled at Notts County, scoring a hat-trick on his debut but failing to earn a contract. Scored 9 goals last season for Carlton Town as they finished 19th in the Northern Premier League Division One South division.

What type of player is he?

A typical winger by all accounts given what he has shown for the Moors in pre-season. He has played in all three matches, coming off the bench and scoring against Barwell before starting against Highgate United and Walsall.

Mellors-Blair is certainly a confident individual, as expressed on Twitter too, and scoring on his debut certainly helped, sprinting 80 yards up field before blasting the ball in the bottom corner against Barwell. He did okay against Highgate, albeit with the difficulty of playing on such a narrow pitch.

He didn't perform badly against Walsall but it's evident that pace is a key aspect of his game and he often struggled to explode past opposition defenders. A lively winger who clearly has goals in him but whether he is powerful enough to break away from opposition defences and ruthless enough to take his chances remains to be seen.

Will he sign for Solihull Moors?

He's a player I wouldn't mind seeing again over the course of the next week. He's direct and his style is quite simplistic on the whole but he is behind Carline, Murombedzi and Afolayan at this point while Chris Lait has also joined. My main question over Mellors-Blair is whether he is quick enough to make himself undeniably useful on a regular basis. Maybe run-outs against Burton Albion and Tamworth can help answer that.


Koby Arthur

Position: Winger/Striker
Age: 21

Where has he come from?

Arthur started out at Waterford United at 16 before joining Birmingham City's community set-up. Within a year of joining the Blues he made his first-team debut from the bench against Wolverhampton Wanderers. Enjoyed spells on loan at Lincoln City and Cheltenham Town before starting Gary Rowett's first three matches until Demarai Gray returned. Struggled for form and fitness thereon and was released at the end of the 0216/17 season.

What type of player is he?

Lee Clark called him a 'pocket battleship' full of 'energy and enthusiasm' while the club's website said he was a 'powerful striker of the ball'. A couple of years ago these were most definitely key facets of his game but as he played for a contract at the Moors, those qualities seemed to disappear somewhat.

His ball control was often impressive but he seemed to lack a spark and was outperformed by Mellors-Blair, Dunkley and Shade during his two friendlies. His brief appearance against Highgate United almost wielded a clever goal towards the end but Arthur did little to impress.

Will he sign for Solihull Moors?

Whether he will or not is irrespective as he has now joined Macclesfield Town on trial. On his showings against Barwell and Highgate United I wouldn't have thought a contract was on its way.


Tristan Dunkley

Position: Winger/Striker
Age: 24

Where has he come from?

The brother of new Wigan Athletic centre-back Cheyenne Dunkley, Tristan started his career at Loughborough University before joining Worcester City for the 2014/15 campaign. His first year was a relative success, playing 33 games, 16 from the start, and scoring 7 goals but his second season was blighted by a persistent shoulder problem. He decided not to sign the new deal offered to him before joining Liam McDonald at Hednesford Town. He scored in his opening two matches but managed just one goal after that.

What type of player is he?

'Lightning quick' was what McDonald called him after the forward joined Hednesford, speaking the obvious. Dunkley himself said fans at Keys Park could 'expect edge of your seat football from me'. Confidence is evidently part of his charm.

Dunkley actually developed a reputation as a bit of a bad boy, not helped by Carl Heeley's testament about rejection via text when deciding to leave Worcester City.

Having seen bits of him at Worcester City and during this pre-season, it's his pace that is unquestionably his biggest asset while he also appears to have bulked up over the last couple of years. It is his final product that is the main cause for concern with the forward often seen misplacing passes, crossing the ball out of play and wasting chances when breaking forward.

Yet he has made his mark twice, a cheeky back-heeled assist against Barwell for Tyrese Shade and a scrappy goal against Highgate in which he did very well to hold off the defender pulling his shirt from his back. Raw.

Will he sign for Solihull Moors?

Another player that we could perhaps do with seeing a bit more of. Dunkley is unlikely to hold down a regular position at the club because his final product is so often missing but his pace could prove a real asset, particularly when leading matches. Whether Dunkley is content to be a bit-part player is questionable.

Writer:Ryan Deeney
Date:Sunday July 16 2017
Time: 7:12PM

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