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Margate sign former Brentford academy defender Tommy Cooney

Margate will include at least one new face in their squad for the home Vanarama National League South derby with Welling United on Boxing Day (3pm).

Manager Nikki Bull has brought in former Brentford academy left-back Tommy Cooney, who has been playing for Morecambe's under-23 development squad.

The Irish-born 21-year-old began his career as a youngster with Sligo Rovers before being scouted.

Scott Donnelly Picture: Martin Apps
Scott Donnelly Picture: Martin Apps

He then had two years as part of Brentford's Elite Development squad and also spent time at Millwall where he had a successful trial cut short by a groin injury.

Since leaving Griffin Park Cooney - who can also play centre-back - has been largely based in the north playing for several clubs including Scarborough Athletic, Brighouse Town, Boston United and Corby Town.

His arrival at Hartsdown means that recent dual registration signing Hakeem Adelakun - who played at left-back against Hungerford on Saturday - will probably play in a more advanced role against Welling.

Full-back Nathan Fox plays his last game before the completion of his 28-day loan spell from Brentford, while Bull is hopeful experienced defender Brett Johnson (hamstring) will be fit to play some part.

Full-back Chris Sessegon had the cast taken off his broken elbow last week but is more likely to play in the return game at Park View Road on New Year's Day. Definitely out of both derbies is Scott Donnelly who is to have further tests on a recurrent knee injury.

The midfielder has only just returned to the Blues starting line-up after undergoing keyhole surgery to repair a torn meniscus and it is the same knee which is giving him problems.

Donnelly - who turns 29 on Christmas Day - is one of the few experienced Conference South players still at Bull's disposal after recent departures, but the boss says he can't allow that to cloud his judgement when selecting his XI.

He explained: "Scott's a terrific lad who has stayed in and around the squad even when he wasn't playing because that's the sort of person he is.

"He came back from his injury, and we were keen to give him games but in the last couple he's had pain in his knee and at Hungerford he looked particularly uncomfortable.

"We probably need to get him back to the surgeon for another scan because there's something not right.

"To be fair he's probably played it down a bit because he wants to play and he knows that sitting on the sidelines isn't helping me. I totally respect him for that but we need to be sensible about it as much for his sake as anything else."

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