WHITBY Town’s Mr Ever-present Mark Robinson cannot wait for the new season.
Skipper Robinson, who played every minute of all 47 of Town’s games in 2011/12 is looking forward to getting stuck into the club’s pre-season schedule which includes games against Premier League Sunderland and Championship side Middlesbrough.
Robinson said: “I can’t wait to get started again.
“I had a few weeks off after the season finished which you absolutely need as a player.
“However, I have already started running again and it will be great to get on with pre-season training at the end of the month.
“We have got some cracking friendlies lined up against some big sides.
“Sunderland, Middlesbrough and Hartlepool will provide a great test for us but at the same time it is important that we have got a good mix of opposition.
“Playing against Scarborough and Guisborough will provide us with a different challenge.
“The games against teams like Sunderland are the ones you really look forward to though.
“Big clubs don’t just send out kids to these type of games anymore. It will definitely be an opportunity to go up against some quality opposition.”
2011/12 was not the first season that ‘Robbo’ has featured in every minute of every game.
In 2005/06 he did not miss a minute of then League 2 club Stockport County’s fixtures.
The defender is keen to try and repeat the feat once again this coming season.
He added:”I would love to be involved in every game again this coming season.
“I feel the fittest I have ever felt so I must be doing something right and hopefully this can benefit the team.”
The Blues will have to face up to Sunderland and Middlesbrough without their two top scorers from last season.
Jamie Clarke who netted 10 times in 2011/12 has joined Darlington, while midfielder Jimmy Beadle who bagged six goals from midfield will be playing for Fawkner Blues in Australia until November.
Robinson believes that Town will miss Clarke and Beadle but is confident that the club will cope without them.
He continued: “It is a bit of a blow losing Jamie because he is a lad who can stick the ball in the back of the net and he scored some important goals at the back end of last season.
“I am a bit surprised he has gone because I feel that we are a club on the up but I wish him all the best.
“However, it is really important that you have players in the squad who are totally committed to being at the club.
“Jimmy is a good player who can score goals from midfield and a big character in the dressing room.
“He will be missed but I am sure that he will come back to play for us when he returns to England.
“Andy Appleby has left the club as well so other players are going to have to start to take responsibilty for scoring more goals.
“I am sure lads will step up to the plate though.
“Towards the end of last year Tom Portas and Nathan Mulligan popped up with some really important goals and I am confident that they will continue to do so.”
Robinson anticipates the Blues adding “four or five” new faces to their ranks as manager Darren Williams attempts to construct a side capable of challenging for promotion.
He said: “We have got the nucleus of a really good side but I would expect a few players to come in to help strengthen the squad.
“It is always the same in pre-season there will always be comings and goings.
“I believe that all the players who finished the season here were invited back and it is great that Jeff Smith has already confirmed he will be staying at the club.
“I totally agree with Darren when he says we should be up there challenging for promotion in 2012/13.
“He has got the players playing for him and enjoying their football and if you look at the form guide for the second part of the season then it has us right up there in the top five.
“Getting promoted is definitely the aim next season.”