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Final dress rehearsal

Reds will play their eighth and final friendly of a protracted pre-season when they travel to Atherton Collieries on Saturday (3pm).

Last season, Colls recorded more wins (26), scored more goals (89) and conceded fewer (34) than any other team in the West Division as they emerged deserved title winners, seven points ahead of Radcliffe who Reds disposed of last week.

Atherton will be replacing Reds in the Premier Division and will provide another good test for Danny Grainger’s new-look squad.

Three or four players will miss this final work-out due to holidays and injuries with the manager now realising that non-league football is anything but straightforward. But the squad has trained well on 3G and grass during the week and will be keen to impress again ahead of the League opener against Pickering Town next week.

Our only two previous meetings with the better of Atherton’s two sides was back in the 1998-99 campaign when we inflicted a North West Counties League double upon them.

Michael Clegg’s side have experienced a strange pre-season, recording some surprising results against decent opposition only to suffer against more humble opponents. They recently added former Red, Jack Egan, to their squad.

Admission: £5 (Concession – £3)

Postcode: M46 9EY

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