One of the most talked about parts of any non-league pre-season is the introduction of trialists hoping to impress sufficiently to earn themselves a contract for the upcoming campaign.
Having given the likes of Koby Arthur, Joel Taylor and William Mellors-Blair the opportunity to impress last summer, Tim Flowers followed tradition by inviting Jordan Murphy, Jhai Dhillon and Jarrell Hylton to join his new-look side ahead of their opening pre-season fixture with Tamworth.
All three trialists got the chance to showcase their talents during a comfortable 3-0 victory at The Lamb and below you can find a bit more information on our newest potential recruits:
Jhai Dhillon rose to fame having become the inaugural winner of Chelsea’s Asian Star competition in 2009 when he was just 14 years old. The competition put him on the map with Dhillon competing at international for Khalsa’s Football Academy Futsal senior side when just 15 while Stevenage signed him up after his release from Chelsea. Things haven’t worked out perfectly for Dhillon who has spent his short career so far playing non-league football for a number of clubs, loan spells at Hitchin Town and St.Neots Town followed by spells at Royston Town, Hayes & Yeading United, Slough Town, Dunstable Town, Redditch United and Chesham United.
Dhillon remains a hot property, however, and a notable name in the non-league scene. He is a full international for Panjab FA and after performing against England C at the Automated Technology Group Stadium, he competed in the CONIFA World Cup, Dhillon being named in the team of the tournament and helping Panjab to the quarter-finals. He has also been on trial at Notts County and Grimsby Town, John Sheridan admitting that Dhillon had done nothing wrong before deciding against keeping the full-back on.
After indifferent spells at several clubs, Dhillon settled at Chesham United last term and played over 50 games last season, finishing on a high by winning the Berks & Bucks FA Senior Cup against MK Dons. Furthermore, he was voted 3rd in the club’s Supporters Trust Player of the Season award as the club finished 8th in the Southern Football League Premier Division.
How did he get on?
Dhillon was given the full 90 minutes against Tamworth and put in a solid display. It was difficult to judge the full-back on his defensive display given Moors’ dominance in the game but he showed good energy and could be seen regularly communicating with his team-mates. A little less involved in the second-half with the game opening up but did nothing wrong.
Jordan Murphy’s career kick-started after scoring almost 40 goals in his final season with Stourbridge’s youth-team. Birmingham City and Bournemouth jumped in to offer him a trial before the then teenager joined Walsall.
After scoring 2 goals in 8 games on loan at Worcester City, Murphy was given his Walsall debut by manager Dean Smith. After a short spell with Kidderminster Harriers, he returned to Worcester and I had the fortune of watching him showcase his qualities on a few occasions. He predominantly played out wide for Worcester offering a directness and technical ability that was often amiss in the final third, his displays against Scunthorpe United in their FA Cup run particularly impressive. He spent the entire 2016/17 campaign with Worcester but struggled for consistent starts and performances for a club whose financial difficulties caused instability on and off the pitch as they succumbed to relegation.
He re-joined Stourbridge before signing for AFC Telford a couple of months later in what proved to be another frustrating spell, making 25 appearances but starting only five league matches. He was released earlier this summer after Gavin Cowans replaced Rob Edwards as manager.
How did he get on?
Joined the fray on 62 minutes as part of a quadruple substitution. Showed a few good touches and got into some good areas. Delivered one cross that found Luke Maxwell at the back-post.
I suppose the one piece information that fans will appreciate knowing more than any is that yes, Jarrell Hylton is in fact the brother of Solihull Moors striker Jermaine Hylton.
Aside from the above, finding out where Jarrell Hylton has been and how career has panned out has proven difficult with information often scarce for clubs in the third, fourth and fifth tiers of non-league. He had spells with Alvechurch, Bedworth United and Hinckley United before joining Studley where his manager Kevin Kingham claimed Hylton could score 35 goals, such was his ability. Hylton has also played for Coventry Sphinx and last season spent time with Redditch United (Southern Football League Premier Division), Rushall Olympic (North Premier League Premier Division), Cadbury Athletic and Littleton FC (both Midland Football League Division One).
However, as advised, information is scarce in the lower divisions and much of his career to date cannot be picked up via a search through Google and social media.
How did he get on?
Another of the four substitutions to join the game on 62 minutes. Hylton was given a spot on the right-wing but looked raw in his given role. Was comfortable enough in possession and played some intelligent passes.
Also worth noting:
There were three further trialists named in the starting XI last night who all got some game time. These were not trialists exactly but budding youngsters looking to make the step-up from youth-team football to the senior side.
All three received around 10 minutes to show their quality and they are as followed:
Reiss McNally: A 17 year-old who signed up as a right wing-back but spent much of last season as the heart of a back three with the Moors Academy.
Dylan Barkers: A centre-back who looks set to remain with the Academy this term thanks to the increase in age group.
Mikkel Hirst: A youngster who has often played at left-back or more recently as a wing-back. Lightning quick and plays on the front foot.