Blyth Spartans boss Michael Nelson reflects on previous Hebburn Town visit - and how a lot has changed since then

Blyth Spartans will head back to Hebburn Town on Saturday eleven months after they suffered a sobering night at the hands of the Northern Premier League newcomers.

Friday, 30th July 2021, 1:25 pm
Blyth Spartans manager Michael Nelson.

On that rain-sodden August night, the Hornets handed out a comprehensive 3-0 defeat to a Spartans side containing several trialists in what was Michael Nelson’s first game as the club’s permanent manager.

Fast forward to the present day and the mood in the Spartans camp could not be more different after Tuesday night’s impressive 2-1 home win against Hartlepool United made it three wins in four pre-season games.

A settled Spartans squad, boosted by an impressive summer recruitment drive, will head to South Tyneside looking to continue their preparations for the new National League North season with a win against Kevin Bolam’s men.

Nelson reflected on an altogether more positive summer as he looks forward to return to the scene of his bow as Spartans boss.

He told The Leader: “It was a combination of things that night with me going into the job and being fresh into it with my first summer with recruitment.

“They were constraints financially and with Covid at the time, so there were a lot of different factors.

“This summer, we have been hard at work, we had more time to prepare, and I think we are going back to Hebburn with a squad that can do well this summer.

“The squad is looking good on paper, and I think everyone has commented on that when the lads came in.

“Hopefully we can continue what’s been a positive pre-season so far.”

Club captain Nathan Buddle and forwards Lewis McNall and Sean Reid will all be assessed ahead of Saturday’s game as Nelson considers making several changes from the midweek win against Hartlepool

“We will maybe mix things up a little bit and get some minutes into some of the other lads and rest a couple that maybe need to step back a little bit.

“I have no issues if someone is injured, and we have to put somebody else in because we know they will go and do a job for us.”