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MANAGER PREVIEW: The lads are ready for Pickering

First-team manager Danny Grainger says his squad are ready for their first league fixture of the season at Pickering tomorrow.

Grainger’s men will start their NPL North West Division campaign in Yorkshire – where they prematurely ended the last one in March – after a long and unique summer.

On the eve of the opening match, he admitted: “It’s natural that there’ll be nerves, excitement and a little bit of weariness.

“But the lads are ready, they’re as excited as I am and we’re looking forward to the season ahead.”

The lads will be looking to avenge what happened in spring, as the FA expunged last term, when we were 10 points clear at the top of the table heading into the run-in.

The squad look physically ready but when asked if they’re over the disappointment mentally, the boss made no bones about it.

“Definitely,” he stated.

“We’ve spoken about what happened last year and we know what we have to do to put it behind us.

“We have to make sure that we’re ready for everything that’ll be thrown at us and I think they’re ready for it.”

Onto the game, and after scouting the Pikes in their Emirates FA Cup loss at Penrith over a fortnight ago, Grainger gauged what type of test they’re expected to give us.

“It’ll be a very tough game,” he said.

“They’ll be organised but I think we’ve found areas where we can exploit them.

“But that doesn’t mean any weakness is automatically going to happen; the horrible side of the game must be done first.

“We’ll make sure we do that [tomorrow].”

The gaffer also gave us an update on our three current injuries, all at varying stages.

“Dav [Symington]’s probably going to be touch and go as to whether or not he’s ready for this one, whereas Jordan [Little] has no chance,” he revealed.

“We’re assessing Robbie [Hebson] and hopefully, his injury won’t be as bad as first feared.”

Finally, the thick and fast fixture calendar is beginning to take shape as we get the serious business underway.

Following a trip to Radcliffe on Tuesday in the FA Cup First Round Qualifying, we’ll now face fellow Cumbrians Kendal Town at Parkside Road next Saturday, 26th of September.

The league fixture has been brought forward from October, something Grainger is pleased about for not only his players.

“We don’t want a spare weekend,” he explained.

“Obviously, with it originally being on a Tuesday and it being one of our fans’ favourites, we’re happy to get it on the board.

“It’ll be a derby, as it was last year, and we need to make sure we’re ready for whatever Kendal throw at us.”

Kick-off tomorrow is at 15:00 and tickets are only available on the gate at Manse Lane.

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