Bedlington Terriers manager Andy Ferrell will begin his first pre-season as a football manager and he has dubbed the opening games as “important” for getting players match fit again.
The Terriers face Red House Farm on Tuesday, July 7 after being brought back 24 hours, and then they travel to Ashington to face the Colliers four days later on July 11.
Ferrell said: “I am looking forward to getting back to the games, the first few friendlies will be a bit stop-start, with the lads on Tuesday night all featuring for 45 minutes simply because I have eight or nine players that I want to look at.
“It is all about putting 100 per cent in and using the game as a bit of a fitness test, at the end of the day pre-season is all about getting your fitness back and impressing the manager to claim a place in the team.
“There is no hiding the fact that there are only a few players returning from last season, it was my choice and the lads who I have brought in are people that I trust and are established Northern League players.
“I would be lying if I said that I didn’t want to win to be honest, whether it is table tennis or dominoes I want to win because my character is all about winning because I don’t like being second best.”
Their first opponents play in the Northern Alliance and will look to cause an upset especially with a former player sitting in the Terriers dugout as manager.
The manager added: “I can imagine that they will be a physical side, it is their first game and I have a lot of affection for the club to be honest, they got me on the path to football when I was nine-years-old.
“The main reason why we are playing this team is because I have the upmost amount of respect for them and they deserve this game, they will give our lads a real test.”
Ashington Colliers also play in the Northern Alliance, but will have a different style of play to that of Red House, with a few former faces in their side too, notably defender Kyle Dobson.
Ferrell said: “The Colliers will be young and they will be hungry and there will be one or two players there looking to also impress, it is another team that I will be looking at for one or two gems.
“A couple of the lads played for us last year and they may feel that they have a point to prove, it is more about the teams I put out to get match fitness because I don’t want to pick up any injuries.
“It isn’t the be all and end all if we lose the game, it is more for me about looking at the trialists who are looking to take the next step in the game, and hopefully they impress us.”
Having signed over half-a-dozen new faces over the off-season, the Terriers will be, more than likely, using the first games to get game time into the players.
The manager claimed that the three most important things to take out of the opening two games are “player’s finishing injury-free”, “performing well” and “finding a few good players in pre-season”.