Ashington Colliers manager David Brown has revamped his playing squad during the close season and is looking for his new look outfit to make a good start to their campaign in the premier division of the Northern Alliance on Saturday.
Brown’s side – who play six of their opening eight games at home – begin with the arrival of Stocksfield to the Hirst Welfare for a 2.30pm kick-off.
He said: “Over the past three seasons we seem to have got stuck in fifth or sixth position in the league.
“Last term we let ourselves down when we lost games against teams where we should have won and ought to have done better than what we did.
“However, I have a stronger squad all round where there will be competition for places – and I’m looking for a really good start.
“We’ve had an up and down pre-season with a mixed bag of results, but last weekend we played Ebac Northern League second division side Whickham and although we lost 1-0, the performance was good.”
Brown has brought in ex-Ashington midfielder Stephen Hutchinson as his assistant/coach and was full of praise for the new member of staff.
“He has already got the players buzzing,” he said Brown.
“His enthusiasm rubs off on everybody and he tells it as it is.”
Amongst a host of new faces joining the ranks this season are Lee Harker, Ross Gair, Ryan Douglas, David King and Chris Graham, whilst Matty Graham, Liam Taylor and Luke Scott are three young players not only brought in to bolster the squad but with an eye on the future.
Meanwhile Brown expressed his gratitude to personnel who have moved on.
He said: “I’d like to thank Tony Burgess, who was my assistant, and players David Brown, Glen Bolton and Ross Dixon, all of whom have joined Bedlington Terriers, whilst the club’s best wishes go to long serving defender Iain Nickalls who has retired.”