Ashington club captain Craig Scott says it is imperative the Woodhorn Lane-based side make an eye-catching start to the new football season which gets under way on Saturday.
The Colliers were dumped out of the FA Cup at home to Nelson on the opening day of last term and finished 16th in the Ebac Northern League’s first division, which represented a disappointing campaign.
However, with the incentive of two home draws in both major FA competitions – the Cup and Vase – Newcastle-born Scott says the current squad owe it to the loyal Ashington supporters to ‘set the tone’ on Saturday when the Wansbeck side host Sunderland Ryhope CW in the extra preliminary round of the FA Cup.
“We know how everyone associated with the club loves a good cup run so for us to go out so early last season was a big blow,” he said.
“Consequently, it’s vital that we made a good impression this time round.
“It would get the fans excited and we also want to give them something back for their loyal support.”
Scott – a sales manager – was forced to leave Ashington a couple of years ago due to work commitments which saw him move to London.
He returned to the area for the start of last season only to be ruled out through injury but will be in the squad – alongside new signings Lewis Strafford, James Loughborough and Tony Stephenson – for Saturday’s 3pm kick-off.
The 29-year-old added: “Missing the beginning of last year was a setback but I’m fit and feeling in good shape and can’t wait for Saturday.”
The skipper also applauded the move to bring in Tom Wade as joint manager alongside Steve Harmison.
“Tom has been with clubs higher up in the non-league pyramid and he not only brings a wealth of experience but has also set out a clear objective and wants the club to be successful,” he said.
If the game requires a replay, it will be staged on Tuesday (August 8) with a 7.45pm kick-off and take priority over Ashington’s ENL away clash at Newton Aycliffe.
Meanwhile, the club is holding a fans forum on Thursday night (August 3) in the clubhouse, with a 7.30pm start.
Anyone interested is more than welcome to attend.