Dates change for Ashington pre-season fixtures

Ashington have been forced to make arrangements to the dates of some of their pre-season friendlies.

The home game against Blyth Spartans has been brought forward a day to Friday, July 17, whilst the Preston North East clash at Woodhorn has been put back 24 hours to Wednesday, July 29.

The club have also confirmed additional matches against Hartlepool and Ebac Northern League second division outfit Whickham.

Meanwhile Ashington-born Premiership referee Michael Oliver will be in charge of the game against Preston.

Woodhorn Lane head coach Ian Skinner said: “The appointment came about through his fiancé, Lucy May, who asked us to let her know when we had our pre-season games finalised because Michael and herself would support us where they could.

“However, due to other commitments the only date available for them was the Preston game, which helps us out because rules state that the referee has to be of a certain standard.

“It’s fantastic that Michael is returning to referee his home town club.

“People might not realise it but match officials need to go through the same pre-season process just like players and clubs have too in terms of fitness, speed of thought and decision making.”

The revised programme now reads: Wednesday, July 8, Blyth Town, away; Saturday, July 11, Whickham, home; Wednesday, July 15, Alnwick Town, away; Friday, July 17, Blyth Spartans, home; Monday, July 20, Hartlepool, home; Friday, July 24, Ryton, away; Wednesday, July 29, Preston North End, home; Saturday, August 1, Brigg Town away.