Blyth Town and Bedlington Terriers to kick off with local derby
Blyth Town manager Michael Connor could not hide his delight after discovering his side will mark their return to the Northern League with a visit to local rivals Bedlington Terriers.
The South-East Northumberland derby is a mouth-watering start to Town’s return to life as a Division Two club and forms part of a challenging opening week to the season.
Hot on the heels of their visit to Terriers is another away day as Connor and his squad make the trip to face much-fancied Easington Colliery.
Fellow Northern League new-boys Horden CW will be the first visitors to Gateway Park on the second Saturday of the season and that is quickly followed by another home game against Newcastle University.
Connor admitted that the release of the fixtures and the news that his side would start their season with a derby day against Terriers had whet his appetite for the return to competitive action.
He told The News Post Leader: “It’s fantastic to return to the league with a derby match.
“The lads have been going crackers in the group chat, there’s a real buzz in amongst them.
“It’s a case of wow, coming back from the depths of the second division of the Alliance to playing a side with their history, in a derby match, it’s unbelievable.
“The fixtures coming out makes it feel real and we have to make sure we are ready for it.
“It’s a difficult first week to the season, there’s no doubt about it.
“But there’s no pressure from the club, we just want to go out and enjoy it, we will be well-structured, be fit and see what happens.”
Connor’s men will then host Terriers on Saturday, January 8 in the return fixture.
Meanwhile, Division One side Ashington make the trip to Cumbria to face Penrith on the opening day of the campaign before a few days later welcoming West Auckland Town in their first home game.
They will also face Penrith at home in the first match of the New Year on Saturday, January 8.
The Northern League season as a whole gets underway on Saturday, July 31 and is scheduled to end on Saturday, April 16.