STALYBRIDGE Celtic have a new assistant manager after Keith Briggs left to take up a full-time job at Sheffield United’s academy.
Manager Steve Burr has replaced him with Alex Meecham, a former Celtic player who has been assistant manager at Barrow and Telford.
Burr has also been active in the transfer market with a further reshaping of his squad as he tries to lift Celtic away from the foot of Evo Stik League, premier division.
Celtic’s manager is sad to see Briggs leave as the pair had a lengthy association having signed him as a player in his first spell as Stalybridge manager and also as a player for Kidderminster Harriers.
Briggs, who had been a part time academy coach with the Blades for the last two years, was later assistant manager to Burr at Southport and Stalybridge.
Burr said: “Keith was a great captain, both on and off the field. It is a pity we don’t at the moment have somebody like him.
“I am disappointed to lose him, but can understand why he felt he couldn’t turn down the chance to work full time for Sheffield United, and we have to move on.”
Meecham, the former Forest Green Rovers striker, had two spells with Celtic between 2007 and 2009, scoring 11 goals in 42 appearances.
More recently Meecham had been player/assistant manager at Barrow and Telford, also holding a caretaker manager role at Barrow. He currently heads the academy at Bradford Park Avenue.
Burr said: “After Keith left, I received a number of calls about the job, and Alex was one of the first.
“I wanted to move quickly and Alex had no ties to another club.
“He is very enthusiastic, like Keith was, and brings a wealth of experience having played at the top end of the Conference for most of his playing career.”
Burr has signed experienced goalkeeper James Coates, from Droylsden, on non-contract forms to replace Joe Slinn who has been recalled by Port Vale.
Celtic’s manager had also signed England U18 keeper Jake Turner on loan from Bolton Wanderers, but his delight quickly became disappointment as he was called back as cover due to an injury.
Burr is looking to sign another keeper as cover for Coates.
Celtic’s manager has also strengthened his side’s midfield with the captures of Sam Sheridan and Chris Gallagher.
Sheridan has been signed on loan from Altrincham having previously been at FC United.
“I spoke to Sam in the summer but could not match what Altrincham offered. He dropped out of the team through injury and couldn’t get back into their side,” explained Burr.
Gallagher, 18, has been signed on loan from EFL League One high-flyers Shrewsbury Town. He has played for Northern Ireland U19s.
Oliver Crowley is staying with Celtic after rejecting a move to Evo Stik League rivals Ramsbottom United who had served a seven-day notice of approach.
Burr said: “I’m pleased Oliver has decided to stay. We like how he goes about his business and have been impressed by him since he rejoined the club.
“He is a young, fit and athletic lad who has plenty of promise.”
Celtic have lost striker John Cofie who is set to sign for Sligo Rovers who play in the premier division of the League of Ireland.
Cofie, 24, spent six years at Manchester United where he played alongside Paul Pobga, Jesse Lingard and Michael Keane in the junior and reserve sides.
He played league football for Sheffield United and Notts County on loan from the Old Trafford club.
Full-back Lee Neville has been made available for a loan or permanent move as Burr looks to free money to bring in a striker.