Off we go in our series of match previews in advance of the big kick off. Toolstation NCEL Division One gets under way at 3 pm on Saturday, so a massive welcome back to the players, management and staff of all our clubs as we get another season on its way-with just the one promotion spot available to the Division One Champions come April.
As luck would have it, our first preview follows Jason Dodsworth and his remodelled Nostell Miners Welfare to the green, green grass of Parkgate on Saturday, writes Colin Muncie for the Bootiful Game.
By general consensus, Jason and Joint-Manager Simon Houghton did a fine job in securing seventeenth spot -and survival-in Division One last season. They have recruited well during the summer, and many believe they will be there or thereabouts when the prize is handed out at the end of the season.
Jason told us that he was optimistic about the campaign ahead. “We’re ready for the season to start now” he said “ Pre-season has gone okay and we’ve had some tough games -which the lads have worked really hard in -and stuck to the way we want to play. We have assembled a good squad between us and there is a good feel around the place-not only the dressing room, but the club in general”.
Jason is wary of the trip to Roundwood, despite the Steelmen’s relegation last term. “Parkgate away is a real tough opener” he admitted “They’re a good team, with a good manager in place, so I expect them to be up at the right end of the table this season. It’s over to the players now as the business starts on Saturday”.
Jason doesn’t expect his team to be at full strength at the weekend.”Our squad is stretched to the limit to start with, due to suspensions from last season and injuries” he admitted “and a couple on holidays -but I’m sure it will be the same for many. So it’s all about the lads taking their chances now and claiming a shirt as competition will be high”.
“I am sure that we are in for a cracking season once again as there are a lot of good sides” Jason predicted, adding “So all the best to everyone -and the League table won’t lie come the end of April”.