Emley AFC new boy Iyrwah Gooden turns 22 on Saturday (August 13) and he’d love nothing better than to celebrate with a birthday hat-trick as the Pewits go to Handsworth seeking their first points of the season.

The young striker, who learned his trade in the Huddersfield Town Academy, said: “I just want to play as many games as possible and to help the team however I can. I like to get on the ball and run at defenders and score goals. Hopefully I can grab a few this season.” 

Asked if we’ll see him celebrating a hat-trick on his birthday he grinned: “I’ll do my best!”

Gooden was released by the Town Academy aged 15 and signed for Mansfield Town. He left there in 2019 and has since played at Workington Town and Worksop. The Huddersfield-born lad has now returned to his home town to play for Emley AFC. 

It was like coming home for Gooden and Emley had one or two friendly faces. He said: “I know a few people at the club, such as George Doyle, so that made it an easier decision too because it’s always a bit nervy going into a new club especially if you don’t know anyone. However, I have moved to various clubs now so it is something you get used to. 

“I have played five-a-side footy with George and he couldn’t speak any more highly of the club. George just said to come to the club because I’d enjoy being here and can develop as a player. 

“I have been enjoying being at the club so far, bar the results which we know we can improve on.” 

On whether he will feel the pressure as a local lad to perform he said: “I’m not sure being local adds more pressure, but what it does mean now is that more family and friends can come to games and see me play which is great.”

George Doyle in action. Pic by: MARK PARSONS

Emley lost the opening league game 2-0 at North Ferriby and went down 1-0 at Glossop North End in the FA Cup in their two games so far this season and boss Richard Tracey expects a tough test at Handsworth.

He said: “It’s essential to get points on the board, and we’ll be looking to do that on Saturday, but Handsworth have the advantage of playing at home on their Astro turf so that will be a different test for us too. 

“Handsworth have recruited well, they have goalscorers at the top end of the pitch and experience elsewhere from higher levels so it will be a real tough test. They have won all three games without conceding so far.”

Emley had George Doyle sent off at Glossop and he is banned for two matches. Tracey looked back on that game and said: “Saturday was gutting. We felt we had the lion’s share of play and on a very poor pitch had probably the better opportunities but unfortunately they scored with a real sucker punch but it was a better performance so hopefully we can build on that.”

On team news, Tracey added: “As always with this time of year – and I’m sure it’s the same elsewhere – we do have one or two away but other than that we are just monitoring Kane Swinburn and Jake Kelly to see if they are fully recovered. 

“There is nothing on the transfer front at the moment but every manager and club will say that if the right player comes up then obviously we’d be interested.”