Former Premier League star could make league debut against Eadie’s Leiston

Watford's Troy Deeney (left) and Burnley's Michael Kightly battle for the ball during the Premier Le

Watford's Troy Deeney (left) and Burnley's Michael Kightly battle for the ball during the Premier League match at Turf Moor, Burnley. Kightly has joined Rushall Olympic, who are Leiston's opening day visitors in two weeks at Victory Road in a Southern League clash. Photo: PA - Credit: PA

Leiston begin their Southern League Premier season in two weeks and could come up against a former Premier League star

Former Wolverhampton Wanderers and Burnley winger Michael Kightly has signed for midlands outfit Rushall Olympic.

He could well make his league debut for ‘The Pics’ against Leiston at Victory Road on September 19 in the Southern League Central Premier Division. Both side’s opening league fixture.

The 34-year-old announced his retirement from the full-time game in August 2019 after playing 425 games, including 75 in the top-flight.

Rushall manager Liam McDonald told “This is a massive coup for the club.

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“He’s had a lot of offers, as you would expect, but he has chosen us and it is clear that he will be a big asset.”

Kightly became a vital player for Wolves and was pivotal in their promotion to the Premier League in 2009, under former Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy

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However injuries disrupted his time in the top flight before the club’s relegation after three seasons. He joined Stoke City in August 2012 for an undisclosed fee. Kightly spent the 2012–13 season at Stoke before joining Burnley on loan in August 2013. After helping the Clarets gain promotion to the Premier League he made the move permanent in June 2014.

Leiston, meanwhile, are joint-managed by Darren Eadie, another former Premier League player.

Needham Market and Lowestoft are in the same division as Leiston and they also have former professional players managing them - Needham boss, Kevin Horlock, who had an outstanding professional career, notably with Manchester City. While Lowestoft’s Jamie Godbold was on the books of Stoke City.

Leiston have an FA Cup clash against Halstead Town this Saturday as their competitive season begins.

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