Hassan out for Whitby Town league opener

WHITBY Town kick off their new Evo-Stik League Premier Division campaign on Saturday (13 Aug) with the long trip to travel to Chasetown, writes Andrew Snaith.

Last season, the sides drew 1-1 at the Scholars Ground, when Kev Burgess’ bicycle kick ensured a share of the spoils for the Seasiders.

Burgess will be without usual central-defensive partner Ibby Hassan, who serves a one-match suspension held over from last season.

Manager Tommy Cassidy is likely to give a debut to former Sunderland defender Darren Williams (34), who made more than 200 appearances for the Black Cats and signed for Whitby this week.

Nineteen-year-old midfielder Callum Martin, picked up from Hartlepool United, should also make his first competitive start for the Blues, with fellow ex-Pools midfielder Billy Blackford (19) and former Morecambe goalkeeper Matt Calvert (18) also in contention.

That’s due to record-breaking gloveman Dave Campbell’s ankle injury, which is still a few weeks away from healing.

Chris Batchelor will be away playing cricket and Marc Ellison, another youngster from Hartlepool, misses out through suspension.

Chasetown finished 10th in their first season at this level – they also reached the quarter finals of the FA Trophy, before losing out in a replay against eventual finalists Mansfield Town.

Referring to Saturday’s big kick-off, Cassidy told the Whitby Gazette: “There’s a lot of hard work been done over the past five or six weeks, we needed a little break but now it’s all systems go and everyone at the club is looking forward to it.”

Without the influential Hassan, who was voted the supporters’ player of the season last term, Cassidy admitted: “It’s a bit of a blow really, we’ve got 17, 18, 19 to pick from this season, so we’ve just got to get on with it.

“It will be a hard game, it’s a very difficult start, but I think the players are up for it.

“We had a great training session on Tuesday – very enjoyable and great exercise so everyone’s raring to go.”

Kick-off is the usual 3pm, with admission £9 for adults, £5 concessions and £3 under 16s.

A supporters’ bus for the Chasetown game leaves the club house at 8.30am.

The Blues play their first home league game of the new season on Wednesday (17 Aug) when Bradford Park Avenue are the visitors in a match sponsored by the Whitby Gazette.

Buy your Whitby Gazette on Friday (12 Aug) and Tuesday (16 Aug) for our special Kids for a Quid offer, giving youngsters 50% discount entry to this match.