Blyth Spartans’ 1-0 win over Northern League side Whitley Bay in their opening pre-season game was “like a dream” for manager Tom Wade.
A Robbie Dale goal midway through the first half gave his side the win, but it was attitudes off the pitch from the squad that impressed the manager more than anything.
“It worked like a dream,” said Wade.
“We had three lads not involved today who have just come back from holiday, but they came in and did some fitness work.
“The lads have come back really fit and that shows what good lads they are.
“Performance wise, we have bossed the game and we should have been more comfortable against a very good Whitley Bay side.”
Spartans handed debuts to three of their new signings with only Ben Sayer awaiting his first appearance after returning from holiday this week.
Two of those additions, Jarret Rivers and Dan Hawkins, came in for praise from Wade, although he did warn both that they had still had work to do given the depth of the squad Spartans possess now.
“A couple of the new lads did exceptionally well,” he said.
“Jarret Rivers is a very good player, clever and tricky on the ball, but we need to work on getting him to pull that trigger a bit more.
“We will develop him and it will come.
“Dan Hawkins was outstanding in that ‘number ten’ role and he made a very good impression here, although we have a lot of takers for that role in the team.”
With Arjun Purewal’s decision to join Durham City, Spartans are left with a shortage of options in defence, although Wade was quick to praise the performance of young midfielder Ryan Hutchinson who performed admirably at the heart of the rearguard in the second half.
The former Celtic trainee has been the topic of conversations between Wade and assistant manager Colin Myers, and both agree it is a position that Hutchinson could be moulded into.
Wade added: “I have to say as well I thought Ryan Hutchinson was exceptional at centre back during the second half against two different types of forwards in Paul Chow and Peter Watling.
“Colin Myers and myself have had a good chat about him and we think that could end up being his position.”