Michael Nelson issues warning to Blyth Spartans squad as they prepare to face Hartlepool United
Blyth Spartans manager Michael Nelson has issued a warning to his squad as they prepare to face his former club Hartlepool United at Croft Park.
The Spartans boss and assistant Micky Barron made a combined 680 appearances for the Victoria Park club during their playing careers – but they will now solely focused on ensuring their squad are fully prepared for the new National League North season.
The pre-season schedule has been largely promising for Spartans with wins over North Shields and Middlesbrough Under-23s followed up by a promising performance in a 2-1 home defeat against South Shields at the weekend.
Competition for places in Nelson’s starting line-up for National League North opener against Alfreton Town next month is likely to be fierce after a hectic summer of recruitment at Croft Park - and the Spartans manager has warned his squad that they have to be at peak fitness if they are to secure a place in his side on the opening day of the campaign.
He said: “The way we have recruited and the way we want to play means we are going to have some players that are sat on the bench when they were expecting a start.
“They are going to have to work really hard and know that they are going to have to work really hard to get into that starting eleven on the first day of the season.
“There are a couple of the lads that are behind the group fitness-wise, and they will have to do extra to get up to the level of the rest of the group.
“If they are not willing to do that, they will not be in the team regardless of how good people think they are.
“If they can’t play with the intensity and energy we expect, they will be a 30-minute player.”
Tickets for Spartans’ pre-season home fixtures against Hartlepool United Newcastle United Under-23s and Northern Premier League newcomers Stockton Town are now available via the new ticket portal on the club’s official website.
Depending on availability, a cash turnstile will be available for all three fixtures but the club revealed they “strongly encourage” supporters to buy tickets in advance.