Big kick-off for local football teams: preview

Mark Fell
Mark Fell

Colne, Nelson and Barnoldswick Town will all do battle in the NWC Premier Division this season.

And ahead of tomorrow’s big kick-off, we preview our local sides’ ambitions.

After last season’s First Division title triumph, Nelson return to a fiercely competitive division in high spirits.

Manager Mark Fell spoke of how his side are prepared to fight ahead of their return to the Premier Division.

Fell feels his side have acquired the desired fitness levels, which was the aim over results in pre-season.

He said: “When I’ve been asked about results, people have asked me if I’m concerned. To be honest, as long as the boys are fit and ready to go, that’s my top priority. So I’m not concerned at all.”

Additionally, Nelson’s new signings seem to be feeling at home as pre-season comes to a conclusion.

Fell also spoke in high regard of new Admiral Jamie Hastings, describing him as “a top non-league journeyman” and adding that he is what the side needed after describing the defence as the club’s weakest area last season, despite clinching the title.

When asked about predictions for the season, Fell admitted: “We don’t have a strong knowledge of the league, however we will give a good go, continue to play strong attacking football and hopefully we will have an idea after the first few games”.

Barnoldswick Town finished 16th last season, and boss Stewart Airdrie confessed that the players “weren’t fit enough.”

But he believes his players are much fitter this time around.

Following his appointment back in January. Airdrie has focused on the side’s attacking ambition, and he insists the club can challenge the top half of the table: “The boys are much healthier and fitter this year. Last year they weren’t. There’s no reason why we can’t finish in the top half this season.”

Colne finished ninth last season, and manager Steve Cunningham is looking to finish higher.

Pre-season has been a good workout, and Cunningham is happy with his new signings. “Pre-season has gone well, all the lads have bonded and we just want to get started.”

The only problem Colne have suffered is Joe Garvin fracturing his foot.

Cunningham praised his new captain Simon Nangle, who has displayed his attributes as a leader. “Simon is a great lad and under his leadership we can do well.”

When asked about this season’s ambitions, Cunningham is aiming for the top five.

Tomorrow, Barnoldswick host West Didsbury & Chorlton, Nelson entertain Runcorn Town and Colne are at Winsford United.

Tuesday sees Town at home to Silsden, Colne host Bacup & Rossendale Borough, and Nelson are at Squires Gate.

JAMES FLETCHER