Town squad shaping up well for first friendly

Bridlington Town manager Gary Allanson with son Ash.
Bridlington Town manager Gary Allanson with son Ash.

Bridlington Town return to action this weekend, when they welcome Hartlepool United to Queensgate for their first pre-season friendly.

The Seasiders will entertain four Football League clubs in the next few weeks, as they step up their preparations for the new campaign.

And they will need to hit the ground running when the competitivefixtuires begin after they were handed testing ties in the FA Cup and FA Vase.

Town will face last season’s FA Vase winners North Shields in the Extra Preliminary Round of the FA Cup.

Friday’s draw gave The Seasiders a home tie, but it couldn’t have been much tougher against a side who finished fourth in the Northern league before their Wembley success over Glossop North End.

The winners of that tie, on Saturday, August 15, will be at home to Kendal Town in the Preliminary Round two weeks later.

Town will be on the road when they begin their FA Vase campaign on September 5.

They will make the long trip to Penrith, again facing Northern League opposition, but the Cumbrian side finished 15th in last season’s table.

If they can win through, Bridlington will then travel to Sunderland RCA in the second qualifying round.

Manager Gary Allanson said: “I don’t think we could have got two more difficult ties.

“But we had the same last season when we played Whitley Bay and we got a great result there.

“We will stay positive and the group of players we have we are certain they will work their socks off and anything can happen in football.”

Saturday’s opening friendly comes before Town even know who their first league opponents will be, with the fixtures not set to be released until later this month.

“We think it will be a youthful Hartlepool side with some first teamers in and will be a very good test for us,” added Allanson.

“We still have three or four players away on holiday and we have to work around this, but the games then come quickly and it is a matter of getting match fitness in and everything is aimed for August 8, when we should be at our peak.

“The season is getting ever nearer and the close season seems to be getting shorter every year and teams start pre-season earlier and earlier to try and get players down.

“We actually started a week later this year because of our success in reaching the East Riding Senior Cup final and playing it on May 11.

Pre-season training began a fortnight ago and the boss is happy with how his squad is progressing alerady.

“We have had some very good sessions and the players have worked really hard and shown a fantastic attitude,” Allanson said, adding that the sessions had been designed to be ‘testing’.

“The players have stayed loyal to us which has been very difficult for them with the amount of competition around the area at this level and clubs trying to attract the best players.

“We have had lots of interest and lots of players coming down to look at us, but we knew deep down if the players we had last season committed for this season we would only want two or three additions.

“One of our main targets was Joel Sutton and he has signed and committed so that is great news for us, we now have 20 players signed and all is looking good. We now have a betterrelationship with our reserves and we have had three players from last season’s team training with us and they have shown a great attitude and will be involved in the games coming up, so great credit to Josh and John Morritt and Sam Jones for making the effort.

“Eddy Birch has moved up a level to sign for Harrogate Railway.We have always said that we won’t stand in a player’s way if he wants to progress and better himself.”