Bridlington Town will begin their pre-season campaign full of confidence when they kick off against tenants Scarborough Athletic on Saturday.
The friendly against their local rivals is the first match back in charge for new manager Gary Allanson, who has assembled a squad he believes is capable of going on to great things.
The majority of last season’s group is staying at Queensgate, although there are a few notable absentees. Allanson confirmed that midfielder Chris Batchelor won’t be returning because of his cricket commitments and travelling issues.
It also appears unlikely that free-scoring striker Josh Greening, who is currently on holiday, midfielder Nathan Cook and utility player Billy Logan will be joining up with the Seasiders again.
Allanson, who returned to Town to take over from Mitch Cook, said: “Pre-season is all about players doing the rounds but I wanted to get players who are committed to Bridlington. It is not fair to players who have been to every session if other players come back and take their place.
“We have got a good spine to the team and great experience with some very exciting young players. The criteria is that we are looking for footballers. I don’t want your typical non-league centre-half or centre forward. We want people who will keep the ball and be comfortable in possession.”
Tuesday night’s open training session at Queensgate saw 19 players sign registration forms for the forthcoming NCEL campaign.
Left back Danny Brunton, Michal Pujdak and lively front man Darren Rookes have followed Allanson back to Bridlington, while new faces included former Winterton Rangers midfielder Rikki Paylor and teenagers Brad Ricketts and Joel Sutton, both former Hull City trainees.
The only absentee was goalkeeper Mark Wilberforce who had work commitments.
“Rikki is good on the ball, a good size and competitive, and he is only 19-years-old. Brad is a midfielder and Joel is a striker, we have got to nurture them,” said Allanson, who also welcomed reserve team players James Faulkner and Jonny Morritt into the first team squad.
Saturday’s friendly against league champions Scarborough Athletic will be Town’s first outing, while their tenants have already played three friendlies, recording their first win on Tuesday evening at AFC Mansfield.
“I’m looking forward to locking horns with Scarborough again. They have gone up a level, rightly so for a club of their size, and it will be a difficult game for us and a really good test,” said Allanson.
The Seasiders welcome Humber Premier League champions Beverley Town to Queensgate next tuesday evening and have also lined up games against Hall Road Rangers, Grimsby Borough and North Ferriby United.
“We are really trying to create a good team spirit where everyone works hard for each other and trusts one another,” added Allanson.