Cunningham hoping Colne can hit the ground running

Simon Nangle battles for the ball.
Simon Nangle battles for the ball.
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Reds boss Steve Cunningham is hoping his side can hit the ground running with their first ever game in the Evo-Stik League First Division North on the horizon.

Colne entertain last season’s play-off semi-finalists Glossop North End in the opener at the XLCR Stadium, a venue where the club hasn’t experienced defeat in the league in 16 months.

Cunningham has recruited well over the summer, developing a squad that can compete in the eighth tier of English football, but he’ll be without key personnel for the start of the campaign.

Skipper Simon Nangle is expected to be sidelined for up to 10 weeks after sustaining ligament damage in the final pre-season outing against Ashton United while Spencer Jordan dislocated his shoulder in the same game.

Meanwhile, Chris Anderson is on holiday and Joe Garvin has suffered a fractured shoulder.

Ahead of tomorrow’s fixture, which kicks off at 3 p.m., Cunningham said: “We’re ready for it. It’s all starting to feel very real now.

“We’ve been waiting for this moment since the end of the 1874 Northwich game when we realised that we would be playing Evo-Stik football.

“We’re really looking forward to getting that first game at this level under our belts.

“It’s a tough start for us against a side that finished in the play-offs last year. We’re depleted for the opening day too because my midfield is effectively absent.

“The midfield that has virtually played all of pre-season is missing but the lads that come in will do a job. I’ve no fear about that.

“We’ve got to play them sooner or later so we may as well set the yard stick as high as we can early doors. We will know here we are and what we need after this.

“It’s going to be a tough league, we’ve got to be on our mettle and we have to be prepared tactically. As soon as the whistle blows it’s down to the lads on the pitch to execute the plan.”

The Reds may be the newcomers to the division but Cunningham is going in to the term with high standards.

Having won the North West Counties Premier Division title, the Holt House boss is now eyeing up a place in the top five.

“All the new players have settled in very well and I fully believe in this group. I believe it’s going to be a very exciting season for Colne Football Club,” he said.

“The squad is fully equipped for this level and all the new lads have experience at a higher standard of football. I just hope the lads believe in themselves the same way that I believe in them.

“I only know one way and that’s to win things. Our target is the play-offs. The North West Counties is the hardest league because there’s only one team that can go up.

“We’ve got more places to go for this season so I’d like to think that we can finish as one of the top five teams. It’s a bold statement but that’s our target.

“We’ve got to hit the ground running because a good start is important. We went 19 games unbeaten at the start of last term and that set us up.”

The Reds travel to Bamber Bridge on Tuesday evening for a 7.45 p.m. kick off.