Grantham Town begin pre-season friendlies in Yorkshire tonight
By Callum Boyle
The long wait is finally over as Grantham Town begin their preparations for the 2020/21 Northern Premier League campaign with a friendly against Rossington Main tonight.
It has been exactly 161 days since the Gingerbreads were last in action, when they drew 1-1 against Whitby Town and, with a new look side under manager Martin McIntosh this season, will be hoping for a successful NPL campaign.
Tonight’s game will be the first competitive action that the squad will have faced this season after returning to training two weeks ago.
In order to prepare for tonight’s fixture, the senior team hosted an intra-squad friendly against the Grantham Town Under-23s on Saturday, where second half goals from Remaye Campbell and Ashley Worsfold secured a 2-0 win for the first team squad.
Whilst there are new signings in the shape of Liam Hardy and Ben Middleton, there will also be familiar faces in the likes of the returning Tom Ward, Michael Hollingsworth and Campbell, who will all be looking to gain valuable minutes on the pitch and force themselves into contention for the much-anticipated first league game of the season.
Tonight’s opponents, Rossington Main, are members of the Northern Counties East Football League Division One and before the premature end to their 2019/20 season, were on course for a mid-table finish under the guidance of manager Ben Hunter.
Playing their home games at Oxford Street, Doncaster, Rossington have already started their pre-season schedule with a 3-2 win against Pontefract Collieries, and two 1-1 draws against Maltby Main and AFC Bentley, and will provide a strong test for the Gingerbreads who will face a run of games in the build-up to the season opener on September 19.
Grantham boss McIntosh has been working his squad intensely over recent weeks and is looking forward to returning to action in Yorkshire where he will be using Tuesday’s fixture to bed-in his new squad.
He said: “I’m really looking forward to the game. We had a really good workout on Saturday against the under-23s squad, but this game is our first proper match of pre-season and will be a really good test for us.
“I’ve got a squad with lots of new players and, for me, it will be all about testing what formations work, which players are right for us and most importantly, building up minutes in the tank so they’re ready to go come the start of the season.
“Rossington have already played three games so will be ahead of us in terms of fitness but we can only focus on ourselves. Most players will play 45 minutes so that they can get their fitness back and it will be a great opportunity for us.”
Unfortunately, the game tonight will be behind closed doors, but for the Gingerbreads boss it is business as usual, even if he can understand the disappointment for the fans.
McIntosh said: “Playing in front of an empty crowd won’t be any bother to me and my players.
“For the fans, it's incredibly disappointing as it is always exciting to see the new players and come and support the team, which is always nice for us too, but from our perspective it has to be business as usual and focus on the task at hand.”
In order to keep up to date with what is going on at Oxford Street tonight, make sure to follow the club’s social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, where every goal and update will be brought to you as soon as it happens.