Whitby Town boss Darren Williams will be looking to tighten up for Saturday’s first league game, after conceding three goals to neighbours Scarborough in the Seasiders’ final pre-season outing.
However, he’ll have to do without right-back Ibby Hassan, who is suspended from Town’s last clash with the weekend’s visitors, Ilkeston.
The pacey defender was red-carded in the Blues’ final home game of last season- a 4-0 defeat to the Robins, back in April.
The Derbyshire side fielded several of their highly-rated academy, that night, and will provide stiff opposition, first up.
However, Williams refused to blame solely his defence after last week’s defeat.
He told the Whitby Gazette: “I think we lost our shape as a team, not just defensively, so it’s important we address that and make sure we’re more disciplined.
“We were a bit lop-sided, at times, but again, that just stems back to shape and players filling in for others, instead of neglecting work-rate.”
Meanwhile, The Seasiders have replaced goalkeeper Nick Liversedge and defender Alex White, with teenage Middlesbrough prodigy Shane Bland (18) and the vastly-experienced Lee Bullock (32), respectively.
Wingers Adam Rundle (29) and Danny Dixon (18) may also feature, along-with towering centre-half Richard Pell (30).
Ilkeston did the double over the Blues, in the league, last term, winning 3-1 at their New Manor Ground, despite Arjun Purewal’s strike.
Whitby had enjoyed a 4-2 victory, in the FA Trophy, just weeks earlier, coming from 2-0 down to secure a famous finish.
Defender Purewal joined rivals Blyth Spartans over the summer.
Town are also battling to overturn their reputation of being famously slow starters.
They’ve won just once on the opening day in the last seven years and lost their first six games of last season.
Kick-off at the Turnbull Ground on Saturday (17 Aug) for the Whitby Gazette-sponsored game is 3pm. Admission is once again £9 adults, £5 concessions and £2 under 18s, with under 16s again admitted free, when accompanied by a paying parent or guardian.
The Seasiders travel to Droylsden on Tuesday (20 Aug) night.
The Greater Manchester outfit were relegated from the Conference North, last season and were knocked out of the FA Cup, by the Blues, in a 4-3 thriller.
Kick-off is 7.45pm.