Round-up: £15million ex-Liverpool winger joins National League club as Oldham Athletic enter new era and Gateshead rocked over ex-Newcastle United defender

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The National League returns from a break this weekend following the FA Cup fourth qualifying round and there is set to be some new faces on show.

Hartlepool United brought in a new face of their own last week with Middlesbrough midfielder Terrell Agyemang arriving on loan, but there has been some interesting developments throughout the National League in recent days.

One of the major talking points saw Micky Mellon appointed as the new manager of Oldham Athletic.

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The Latics recently parted company with David Unsworth after a slow start to the season with former Tranmere Rovers man Mellon taking over.

The National League returns from its FA Cup break. Photo by Lewis Storey/ Michael Steele/ Stu Forster/ Getty ImagesThe National League returns from its FA Cup break. Photo by Lewis Storey/ Michael Steele/ Stu Forster/ Getty Images
The National League returns from its FA Cup break. Photo by Lewis Storey/ Michael Steele/ Stu Forster/ Getty Images

Mellon has enjoyed plenty of success in the National League having led Fleetwood Town to promotion in 2012 before masterminding Tranmere’s return in 2018.

The Scotsman, who left Prenton Park in March, was in the stands for Oldham’s FA Cup success over league rivals Altrincham and will be in the dugout for the first time when the Latics make the short journey to take on Rochdale this weekend.

On completing his move to Boundary Park, Mellon said: “This is a hugely exciting opportunity at a wonderful football club and I am determined to deliver the success that everyone here craves.

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“The aspirations of the club and the developments in recent times mean it is a genuine privilege to be joining Oldham Athletic at this juncture. There is so much potential here and the scope to achieve something very special.

“The supporters of this club deserve success and together I want us to embark on a journey that will create lasting memories for us all.”

Mellon arrives at one of the pre-season favourites for promotion with the club sitting 12th in the table – three points behind Hartlepool in the final play-off spot.

Pools face a double-header with Oldham over the Christmas period when hosting Mellon’s side on Boxing Day before a trip to Boundary Park on Saturday, December 30.

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The Oldham board added: “Micky’s credentials as a manager speak for themselves. He has a magnificent track record, he is a proven winner and we are extremely pleased to welcome him to the club.

“We can now look forward together to an exciting next chapter with Micky at the helm.”

Mellon’s first appearance in the dugout this weekend could be eclipsed, however, with Ebbsfleet United likely to hand a league debut to former Liverpool, Bournemouth and Derby County winger Jordon Ibe.

Ibe, the subject of a £15million move to Bournemouth from the Anfield club in 2016, joins having had a long spell out of the game after his time in Turkey with Adanaspor.

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“I just want to get back out there, show people what I can do again and play football,” Ibe said.

“I’ve worked hard to be in a position where I am able to focus on football and believe in myself and my ability to contribute on the pitch.

"Being back out there is where I love to be and where I’m most happy but I needed to be healthy and prepared to give myself that chance.

"The way Ebbsfleet have helped me and put a process in place so I can be ready has been really supportive. I came in and have had to back myself and prove I’m here to succeed to earn my chance.

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"The gaffer and staff have built up my fitness to the point where I’m ready to go with a ball and I’m really pleased to be able to concentrate on my game while at the same time being really supported.”

Ebbsfleet boss Dennis Kutrieb added: “This is a signing that will generate a lot of discussion outside our club but for us and for Jordon it is only about Ebbsfleet United and getting him back on the pitch to show us what we know he can do.

"Starting or bringing Jordon into the squad is not something we have rushed into because we have had him here with us for a while, getting to know us and his new team-mates and waiting until he is ready to play again.

“I’m delighted we have reached that point and I am looking forward to seeing what he will do in front of our supporters in the coming season. Like many of us in our club and the world generally, Jordon has had his personal battles and setbacks, but he has made brave decisions to talk about those issues, made a genuine effort to seek assistance and applied tools daily to improve his overall health. He is committed to the club and the playing group here for allowing him time and a platform to enjoy playing football again.”

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Meanwhile, Hartlepool’s North East neighbours Gateshead could be rocked by the potential exit of manager Mike Williamson.

Former Newcastle United defender Williamson is the odds-on favourite to take over at League Two club MK Dons who parted company with Graham Alexander recently.

Williamson has impressed during his four-year reign at the Gateshead International Stadium after initially joining the club as player back in 2018 before taking over as player-manager soon after.

Williamson has overseen a major rebuild following the club’s enforced relegation into the National League North before sealing their return to National League level in 2022 where he also guided his side to the second round of the FA Cup.

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And the 39-year-old steered his side to safety upon their first season back in non-league’s elite last year as well as getting the club to Wembley for their first major cup final in the FA Trophy against Halifax Town.

Williamson was in charge as the Heed booked their spot in this season’s FA Cup first round with a 3-0 win over Stourbridge which could prove to be his final game in charge of the club as he remains the leading candidate to take over at Stadium MK.