Worksop Town boss Mark Shaw says he was delighted with what he saw from his side’s first friendly of the summer this week as Tigers began preparations in earnest for the new campaign.
Shaw’s men won 2-0 at Ollerton Town on Wednesday night with goals from new signing Adam Somes and Mark Fereday.
And Shaw was delighted with the way his team approached the opening test of the summer.
He said: “It went fantastically well. We had a very young side out with three 18-year-olds in midfield and a 16-year-old goalkeeper, but we moved the ball well and kept a clean sheet too.
“Our new skipper Richard Adams looked composed in his first outing for us, Adam Scott was influential and Matty Booth got 70 minutes too which was a big plus.
“The only downside was that one of our young trialists broke his tibia in the first minute and I’m totally devastated for him. He’s a local lad and has interest from a lot of clubs, and I believe has a great future in the game.
“We’ll do everything we can to support him in his recovery.”
Worksop will welcome Lincoln City to the Windsor Food Service Stadium on Saturday for a 3pm kick-off, with new Imps boss Danny Cowley expected to bring a strong side to face Shaw’s men.
The action doesn’t let up next week as Worksop then face two friendlies in two days, the first at home to FC Halifax Town on Tuesday night with a 7.30pm kick-off, then Handsworth Parramore will be the ‘hosts’ at Sandy Lane 24 hours later.
Shaw said: “The Lincoln and Halifax games will be the big ones for us in terms of developing our fitness and game play.
“I’ve chatted with Mick Godber at Handsworth and it’s likely it’ll be mainly U21s and trialists that play in that game, as well as anyone who hasn’t had as many minutes on the pitch.
“Lincoln and Halifax are both among the favourites to win their divisions so will be great tests for us.
“It’ll most likely be more of a workout for us in a defensive sense given the quality of the opposition, but that will be very useful to us.
“As you can imagine, we still have plenty of work to do on our shape and cohesion as for a short while at Ollerton we were a little bit all over the place, but that will all come together in time.”
In terms of the bigger picture, Shaw is under no illusions as to how tough the NCEL Premier Division will be once again this year.
He added: “You’ve got sides like Handsworth Parramore and newly-promoted AFC Mansfield who have good budgets and who are bringing in players from higher levels, plus there are teams like Cleethorpes Town who now have their own ground and Clipstone and Staveley who are looking strong too.
“So with just one team being promoted it’ll be another hugely competitive season.”