BLYTH Spartans will make their Croft Park debut for the 2012-13 season on Saturday when they entertain Blue Square premier division side Gateshead in their second pre-season friendly.
Tommy Cassidy’s side will take on the Tynesiders in a 3pm kick-off as they continue their preparations for their upcoming Evo-Stik Northern Premier League campaign.
As well as seeing a number of players who have re-signed for the new season, Spartans’ fans will get to give new signings former Carlisle United and York City striker Craig Farrell and ex-Bedlington Terriers left back James Novak a warm welcome, and also see the return of striker Robbie Dale after he sealed a permanent return to the club from Whitley Bay two weeks ago.
There should be a number of familiar faces in the Gateshead line-up including recent signing goalkeeper Adam Bartlett.
The former Newcastle United reserve team stopper spent three years at Croft Park, in the process making 114 appearances.
He was inducted into the Spartans Hall of Fame and was voted the Spartans Supporters’ Club Player of the Year in 2008.
Bartlett was then signed by Conference side Kidderminster Harriers and was named Conference Goalkeper of the Year in the 2008-09 season.
He then signed for Football League side Hereford United before leaving the Bulls in the summer following their relegation to the Conference.
Tynesiders’ midfielders Phil Turnbull, James Marwood and Josh Gillies have also worn the green and white stripes of Blyth during their careers.
Ian Bogie’s Gateshead side are certain to provide Spartans with a stern test ahead of the new term and it should be some start to the 2012-13 season at Croft Park.
Following the Gateshead friendly, Tommy Cassidy’s side will continue their pre-season programme with an away fixture at Sunderland RCA on Tuesday, July 24, and home games against Tonbridge Angels (Saturday, July 28), Dunston UTS (Tuesday, July 31) and Team Northumbria (Saturday, August 4).
All home friendly tickets are priced at £5 for adults and £2 for concessions.