Rowe on his way as Brakes welcome back Mackey

Leamington’s capture of Ben Mackey looks likely to be offset by the loss of fellow striker James Rowe.

Paul Holleran fought off interest from a host of higher-ranked clubs to secure Mackey’s services, with the 24-year-old signing a one-year deal to become Brakes’ only contracted player.

However, his return to the New Windmill appears to be as a straight replacement for Rowe, who is also facing an uncertain future on the job front.

“We haven’t offered James a deal as it stands,” said Holleran.

“He is away for the whole of June and obviously with the appointment of Alex McLeish, things at Birmingham City, where he works [as an education officer and youth coach] are up in the air.

“We had a chat at the end of the season and the door is not completely closed, but he is speaking to a few other clubs.”

Mackey, who started his career at Coventry City, first joined Leamington at the start of 2006/07 season, top-scoring with 28 goals.

He repeated the feat the following season with 29 goals before making the switch to Southern Premier League side Brackley Town.

In both seasons at St James Park, Mackey passed the 25-goal mark before signing for Conference North outfit Corby Town last summer.

He scored ten league goals before suffering a broken leg against Vauxhall Motors in January, with Corby releasing him from his contract two months later.

The striker spent the final few weeks of the 2010/11 campaign training with Brakes and Holleran believes that spell had a major bearing in persuading Mackey to pledge his future to Leamington.

“Ben’s qualities are there for all to see,” said Holleran.

“He is a striker who scores 25-plus goals a season and gives you a lot of all-round quality.

“After breaking his leg at Corby Town last January he came and did some of his early rehab with us and clearly liked what he saw at the club.

“He turned down bigger and better offers to come to us as he believes in what we are trying to achieve at the club and wants to be part of it.”

Meanwhile, the addition of a home friendly against a Birmingham City XI on Saturday July 23 has prompted a rejig of Brakes’ pre-season schedule.

The Blues visit replaces the friendly against Morton Titterton’s Stratford Town, which is now set to be played on Tuesday July 12.

That date was originally allocated for a trip to Townsend Meadow to face Racing Club Warwick, which will now be played on Tuesday July 26.

Brakes kick-off their pre-season campaign next Friday (7.45pm) with a home clash against Tamworth.