Upbeat Ashington CFC manager Gary Middleton says his squad will travel full of confidence and under no pressure when they face Spennymoor in their opening Ebac Northern League first division clash at the Brewery Field on Saturday.
The boss also revealed that barring any knocks against Whickham from their final warm-up game at Woodhorn Lane in midweek, he will be able to select from a full compliment of players.
Middleton said: “It couldn’t have been a tougher start for us playing the FA Vase winners and league runners- up last term, but it is a fixture where we will go into the game with great confidence.
“We have always done well against the top Spennymoor teams over the past few years.
“Our performances have been very good and we have got nothing to lose.
“You can look at it two ways, on one hand the game is not the one you want first up because they are favourites to win the league, whilst on the other your players can relax with no pressure on them.
“Anything we get will be a massive bonus against them, but I know that they will not be looking forward to facing us – that’s for sure.”
As for his side’s about his side’s pre-season performances Middleton said: “It’s difficult to gauge really but the important thing is to get through the matches free of injuries, which we have done and fingers crossed we’ll have a full squad for the trip to Spennymoor.”
Dean Briggs, son of assistant manager Perry Briggs, is the latest addition at Woodhorn Lane.
Middleton said: “Dean was released by Newcastle United as a 16-year-old and has a first class attitude.
“He has a great passing range and has come into a squad where the players have taken to him.
“I have no doubt that he will be a good asset to the playing squad.”
Newcastle born Briggs,17, who lives in Wideopen, said: “I played for New Hartley last season and will be trying to step up from junior football.
“I’m excited about it and hoping to get a chance, and we’ll see how things go from there.
“I was gutted when I was released by Newcastle United, but things have turned out all right because I’m at college learning football studies and I should get three A-levels by the end.”
Ashington host Durham City on Tuesday, August 13, 7.30pm, at Woodhorn Lane in a match which will see the return of ex-Collier Mark O’Dea.