Vanarama National League North fan preview: Blyth Spartans regular Dan Rolls gives us the lowdown
League sponsors Vanarama have been getting the fans’ perspective ahead of the new season – which kicks off this Saturday
What can Blyth Spartans fans look forward to over the coming season?
For us, it’s pretty much a brand-new team and a complete fresh start.
Huge turnover of your squad this summer and obviously Alun Armstrong leaving too. Can Lee Clark get your new signings to gel instantly or is this a project that will take time?
In all honesty, I think it will take a while for the side to gel together. Lee has a big task ahead of him and it’s important he hits the ground running to prove the doubters wrong. He’s brought a few decent players in so far and in time, with some good additions in the future, I think he can put together a decent side capable of challenging for play-offs again.
Which signings have impressed you the most?
Bringing in strikers Michael Sweet and Scott Fenwick would definitely have to be considered our best bit of business. I’m hopeful they can strike up a decent partnership upfront.
What will be different to last time out?
For us, pretty much everything!
Which players should everyone take note of?
We’ve got a few good prospects. Rhys Evans at right-back looks very good and Ryan Hutchinson is back after over a year out with a serious injury, so I’m hoping he can get back to his best quickly enough.
Adam Wrightson is seemingly guaranteed a starting place now Jarrett Rivers is gone, so I’m keen to see him progress and become a star player for us. Scotty Fenwick will probably make a few defenders cry this season, that I can’t wait to see.
Which sides could be scrapping for promotion or the title?
York City without a doubt. I’d expect Spennymoor to challenge them at the top with the likes of Hereford, Chester and Altrincham. I’m also expecting Darlington to challenge for the play-offs if they bring in another player or two.
Have you got any away trips planned – and if so, where?
York is always a good day out! Other than that, maybe Chester as I’ve not had a chance to visit ground yet.
Which team are you desperate to get one over this season?
We’ve not beaten Gateshead in a competitive game since 2006, so doing the double over them would be nice. And of course, taking some points of Darlington would certainly go down well.
Which opposition player do you wish you had in your ranks?
Dan Maguire of course, no need to explain why with that one.
Prediction time – where will you finish?
I don’t think we’ll be at risk of going down, I’m expecting us to finish in the bottom-half, but we do have the potential in the team to maybe sneak a top-half finish.
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