New opponents: the West Midlands sides

Hinckley AFC will face a host of new teams in 2022/23 as we prepare for life back in the Midland League Division One. Here’s a lowdown on those sides from the West Midlands.

Bilston Town

Home colours: Orange and black

Last season: 7th

Ground: Queen Street Stadium, Queen Street, Bilston, WV14 7EX

Distance from Hinckley: 42.6 miles

We’ll meet: 19th November (a), 15th April (h)

A seventh-placed finish in their debut Midland League campaign but they were comfortably back from the play-offs with 17 points separating them from fifth placed Dudley Town. They appear to be targeting more than that this season though, and have signed a host of new players this summer including former Wolves Sporting hotshot Dan Westwood and ex-AFC Wulfrunians captain Angelo Franco.

Cradley Town

Home colours: Red and black

Last season: 15th

Ground: The Beeches, Beeches View Avenue, Cradley, Halesowen, B63 2HB

Distance from Hinckley: 48.4 miles

We’ll meet: 29th August (h), 15th October (a)

Cradley finished last season in 15th but a run of nine without a win until the final day dragged them closer to the drop zone than they were in reality for much of the campaign. 13-goal Casey Collins was their biggest threat last season but he has joined Black Country this summer. Last season included a win over Dudley, who made the play-offs.

Dudley Town

Home colours: Red, white and black

Last season: 5th (lost in play-off semi-final)

Ground: Guardian Warehousing Arena, Noose Lane, Willenhall, WV13 3BB (share with Sporting Khalsa)

Distance from Hinckley: 43.3 miles

We’ll meet: 9th August (a), 7th January (h)

Dudley were beaten in the play-off semi-finals last season but had the third best defence in the league after the two sides who got promoted. Ex-Hinckley striker Matt Gardner led the line for them last term but he has since joined Division One new boys Coton Green. They beat fellow play-off outfit Ashby Ivanhoe in the final game of last season and face the same side in the first game this time around. A trip to Dudley will be our first game of the league season on Tuesday.

Khalsa Football Federation

Home colours: Yellow

Last season: 13th

Ground: The Beeches, Packwood Road, Tividale, B69 1UL (share with Tividale)

Distance from Hinckley: 43.5 miles

We’ll meet: 5th November (h), 17th December (a)

Khalsa spent much of last season facing up to a relegation battle but from late January saw a run of eight wins in 11 to lift them from rock bottom to the safety of 13th. That run also saw four straight clean sheets as what was once the league’s worst defence tightened up to secure safety. Adam Nazir led the way with 17 goals for them last season.

OJM Black Country

Home colours: Yellow and blue

Last season: 6th

Ground: The Sports Ground, Stourbridge Road, Lye, DY9 7DH (share with Lye Town)

Distance from Hinckley: 54.6 miles

We’ll meet: 10th December (h), 25th March (a)

Black Country were the closest challengers for a play-off spot but fell comfortably short in the end, their cause not helped by a six-point deduction. Three of their players reached double figures for goals and they’ve also signed Cradley’s leading scorer, Casey Collins. Hinckley’s second-leading appearance maker Mitchell Tomlinson now plays for them while they’re managed by another ex-Hinckley man, Sean Geddes.


Home colours: Red and black

Last season: 11th

Ground: Cottage Ground, Amos Lane, Wednesfield, Wolverhampton, WV11 1ND

Distance from Hinckley: 37.7 miles

We’ll meet: 3rd September (a), 11th March (h)

45 points from their 36 games earned Wednesfield a comfortable mid-table spot in their first Midland League season. They had the best defence outside of the play-offs, but only four sides scored fewer goals than they did last season. Shaquille Lee, who played twice for Hinckley in 2015, now plays there.