ALL OPINIONS EXPRESSED WITHIN ARE ENTIRELY THOSE OF THE CONTRIBUTOR AND MAY NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THOSE OF THE CLUB
Photograph supplied by Lee Myers
Photo: Haworth Park is a place for optimism as the sun beats down last weekend
PRE-SEASON is always a time for optimism for supporters throughout the country, and after our first two friendlies we can certainly be no different.
Although not a massive fan of pre-season myself, it is a necessity for players to help get their sharpness back.
The most encouraging sign for me so far though has been the steady improvement in terms of the performance
As expected the opening stages of the Goole game lacked any rhythm, hardly surprising as this was the first glimpse Hall Road supporters had seen of the squad in nearly two months.
As the game went on though we grew more and more into the game and the second half in particular, although very early, we looked a good side for this stage in the campaign.
Results are secondary at this time of the season, hence why its not as popular as the regular season, everybody wants to win, and they want it to matter.
That willingness was there on Thursday night again, and although the first half in the Ferriby friendly was a close affair, the second half performance really caught the eye.
Josh Batty in particular looked excellent, taking his two goals really well, Tom Bennett helped boss the midfield, whilst three new signings, Jack Griffin, Fraser Hansen and Louis Bruce have continued to bed in really well.
A lot was seemingly made of the make-up of the Ferriby team but we looked sharp, and won all the key battles, and won the game comfortably.
It's easy to sympathise with Ferriby boss Steve Housham, as for the second year running he has had to deal with seemingly an exodus of his playing staff and I'm sure by the time the season swings round he will have a clearer idea of the pool of players at his disposal.
We wish them well for the new season in what looks a very competitive Conference North.
Another piece of news was released last night involving the captaincy at the club.
I would like to personally congratulate both Phil Dobson and James Piercy.
'Dobbo' will assume the arm-band whilst Piercy will be a more then capable vice-captain.
Phil's experience especially at this level is invaluable and his decision to give his playing days another year this season was a boost in itself.
Phil also has a presence and commands a respect and I'm sure he is the right man for the role.
I've known Piercy a while now and from the first game I saw him in as a midfielder at Hull United, to the current day, he has matured not only as a footballer, but as a person, and I have no doubt one day he will make a great captain, if that is a route he decides to pursue.
It is with some sadness though that Ash Dexter will not be with us this season.
His contribution last season was mammoth, everybody knows that, and he goes with the best wishes of everyone at the club, and a respect that simply cannot just be given.
Such is the honesty of the man, that due to a number of factors outside of football he was unable to commit, but I'm sure we'll see him at matches and I'm sure he'll do well in his future away from the game.
We seem to be recruiting well and with Louis Bruce coming into the side, Dave and Bill have looked to have found the ideal replacement.
The lads have a twelve day gap in between friendly fixtures, but they can expect anything but a rest.
They will be put through their paces in a session today and are likely to be training three times in the next seven days ahead of the Westella friendly on July 18.
More on that fixture will come in the next ten days.
Yesterday also saw us learn our opponents in the opening qualifying round of the FA Vase, and the extra preliminary round of the FA Cup.
The Vase will see us welcome Gedling MW on September 9.
Admittedly at the time of the draw they were a club I knew a little about, however Dave Ricardo reminded me of a time he played against them so its nice to see someone is in the know.
Having scrambled through Wikipedia and the relevant internet search engines it was easy to learn a little more about them.
They had a tough season last term, finishing 20th in a 22 team East Midlands County Division, which represents Step Six in the non-league pyramid.
They have had a change of manager though and I'm sure will be looking for a better campaign this time round and will come to Haworth Park with very little pressure on them.
The FA Cup Extra Preliminary round sees us face a trip to fellow NCEL Premier Division side, AFC Mansfield on August 5.
This will be our first competitive fixture of the season and although a home tie would have been nice, we'll go there fresh, and still on the high of promotion last season.
If we can progress we will face the winner of the Retford United / Quorn (Leicestershire) match on August 19.
All very exciting as the season starts four weeks today!