Batchelor’s Brakes return promises to be emotional one

Old stomping ground: former Brakes midfielder Richard Batchelor returns to the New Windmill with Hednesford.
Old stomping ground: former Brakes midfielder Richard Batchelor returns to the New Windmill with Hednesford.
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Former Leamington midfielder Richard Batchelor admits there will be mixed emotions tomorrow when he makes his first return to the New Windmill as part of his new Hednesford Town side.

The combative Brummie spent five years with Brakes, winning the supporters’ player of the year award as Paul Holleran’s side swept to the Southern League Premier Division title in 2012/13.

A desire for a new challenge saw him make the switch to Keys Park in October, but he says he will always have a strong attachment to Leamington.

“I still talk to the lads every day,” said Batchelor. “I probably talk to them more now than I did when I was there and there has been a fair bit of banter.

“The lads at Hednesford will be up for this game; they know what it means to me.

“I’d love to win, but then again I don’t like to see my mates losing, so Sod’s Law says it will be a draw.

“But we’ll go into the game looking for a win.”

Batchelor made an instant impression in his new surrounds with a debut double in the Pitmen’s 3-0 win over Oxford City.

A suspension for picking up five bookings showed his competitive nature has not been dimmed and, with last season’s cruciate injury now a distant memory, Batchelor is delighted with the way his move has panned out.

“I’m playing in near enough the same role I played at Leamington,” he said.

“But I’m a bit more freed up and we rotate it a lot.

“I’m well into my game now and I can last the 90 minutes easy.

“When you look back at the injury I had, I’ve come a long way.”

Never the most welcome of visiting players before his move to Brakes, a fact he attributes more to his older brother Michael, the former Chasetown midfielder says he is expecting an altogether different experience tomorrow.

“I think I’ll get a good reception, I didn’t leave on bad terms.

“But it’ll definitely be an emotional one.

“I was there so long I’ll probably end up walking in the Leamington changing room.”