LIVERSEDGE kick-off the new Northern Counties East League Premier Division season at Nostell Miners Welfare tomorrow (Saturday, 3pm) determined to get off to a flying start.
The Clayborners spent most of last season playing catch-up on the other clubs after an awful start and only just beat the drop in the final weeks of the season.
This time manager Billy Miller, who took the helm last November, is pleased with the team’s pre-season preparations and says they are champing at the bit to get the season underway.
“We are ready to go. We have had a good solid pre-season and have been tested by some bigger clubs in our build-up.
“We gave as good as we got against Garforth on Tuesday night and held our own against Radcliffe Borough teams who are above us and where we want to be.
“I told the players that we want to be playing at that level and urged them to follow it through with us.”
Miller and his coaching team have worked hard to bring in players to strengthen areas of the squad.
Another big thumbs up is the fact that most of last year’s squad have pledged their support to the cause and have stayed loyal, believing they can help take the club places .
Miller added: “There were six new players in the side to face Garforth we are re-building. It will take some time for the team to gel and to get an understanding of what they can do but that will come with matches and playing together.”
He pledged: “We will be ready to go to Nostell and will give a good account of ourselves.
“I have told them the first win is so important and everything will go from there.”
Liversedge will be without a couple of their strikers for the opener. Lamin Colley is in Gambia while new signing from Brighouse Town Nathan Cartman is on holiday.
Miller says Nostell is a good place to start the campaign.
“Welfare are a good side, they have had a good pre-season with wins over Guiseley and Garforth Town, but this is the start of the season when it counts.
“Its not too far for us, it’s a nice ground with good facilities. Their manager Alan Colquhoun is an ex Liversedge lad and he has done a good job with the resources he has.”
“We have got together a strong side and we have to show what we can do. We will be at full strength for the game.
“We are in talks with one more player but we will see what happens with that one.”
Miller added: “The club officials will be happy with finishing 16th but I think we have the squad here to be a top 10 team again.”
Miller will be assisted on the bench on matchdays by Lee Ashforth as his number two Cory Larkin is involved on the field.
Liversedge were given a tough test in their final pre-season match as Evo Stick Division One side Garforth Town earned a 2-1 victory. However, Liversedge gave as good as they got in a goalless first half.
On 50 minutes former Liversedge favourite Paul Walker to beat his marker and break into the area, his shot came off Darryl Leach and into the goal for Garforth’s opener.
Two minutes later Liversedge equalised with a great move as Joe Hewitt broke to find Chris Wood who held the ball up for Hewitt to set up Alex Hallam to score. But after 65 minutes Walker struck again as his scuffed shot to beat goalkeeper James Waggett.