RUSHALL Olympic provide the first test for Darren Williams and his Whitby Town side as the new season kicks off on Saturday (18 Aug) at the Turnbull Ground.
The Blues had two memorable clashes with the West Midlands side last season, losing out 3-2 at their Dales Lane home in the two clubs’ first ever meeting, before edging a bad-tempered affair 2-1, last February.
On that occasion, Andy Appleby struck twice as Town came from behind, with Neil Kitchings’ men having three players sent off in a dramatic second half.
The ‘Pics are currently playing at their highest level of football after promotion from the Evo-Stik NPL First Division South in 2011. They finished a highly creditable eighth and have added to speedy striker Ahmed Obeng with new strike options including Dave Walker and Michael Clarke.
Clarke spent last season at crisis club Northwich Victoria, who are currently taking the league to the European Court of Arbitration over the decision to stop them ground-sharing at Flixton, near Manchester, in the First Division South this year.
The Vics look likely to be travelling 60 miles south instead, to their backup choice of Stafford Rangers’ Marston Road stadium.
Walker is a renowned goal machine in the Staffordshire area after blasting 102 goals in three seasons for nearby Nantwich Town and most recently, Kidsgrove Athletic.
Meanwhile, Whitby are likely to hand debuts to striker Graeme Armstrong (29), signed in the summer from Blyth Spartans and midfielder Michael Tait (24), son of ex-Hartlepool boss Mick, who also featured for the Northumberland club last term, before joining Northern League First Division Ashington.
Season tickets are now available - you can see the Blues’ 21 home league games for just £140 adults and £80 for concessions - a saving of £49 and £25 respectively. Matchday prices for 2012/13 are as follows: adults £9, concessions £5 and under 18s only £2.
Kick off is the usual 3pm.
The Seasiders are on their travels this coming Tuesday and next Saturday (21st & 25th) with FC United of Manchester providing the opposition in midweek.
Karl Marginson’s United are one of the favourites for promotion after reaching back-to-back play-off finals.
A supporters’ coach leaves the Turnbull Ground at 2.30pm, bound for Gigg Lane, Bury.
The following weekend, Town are in the Peak District for a repeat of last season’s final day trip to Buxton, with a coach leaving at 9am.
Both journeys cost just £10 each.