Preview | Kidderminster Harriers (h) | National League North | 22/23

Competitive football returns to Croft Park as Blyth Spartans host Kidderminster Harriers in the opening day of the National League North season.

Terry Mitchell’s side will be looking to kick on following a strong finish to last season, where Spartans won four of their last seven games to successfully avoid relegation as well as lifting the Northumberland Senior Cup.

TICKET INFORMATION

  • Tickets can be purchased in advance via our online system – here.
  • If you do not have online access, you can purchase your ticket by ringing the club office on 01670 352373 and paying with a debit or credit card. Your ticket can then be collected from the social club on match day.
  • We will operate a cash turnstile. However we strongly encourage you to purchase your ticket in advance.
  • Tickets purchased in advance must be printed or stored on your phone. Without proof of ticket, you will not be permitted into Croft Park.
  • Advanced tickets can be bought up until 2pm on a matchday.
  • Should you wish to sit in the Port of Blyth Stand, you should purchase in advance.
  • This season sees the return of our half-time draw, with tickets available at our new kiosk, with cash and card payments accepted.

TEAM NEWS

There are no injury concerns to the squad, with the only potential doubt being Josh Gillies who is being eased back to fitness following his return from serious knee injury.

MILESTONE

Saturday’s match could see several first-team debuts for new signings Matty Cornish, Sam Fishburn as well as Matty Dopson following his promotion to the first-team squad during the summer. There could also be a number of second debuts for the club following the returns of Alex Nicholson, Michael Richardson and Matty Elsdon over the close season.

OPPOSITION

Russ Penn’s Kidderminster side enjoyed a memorable campaign last season, as they enjoyed a great run to the Fourth Round of the FA Cup where they suffered a narrow defeat to Premier League side West Ham United. Harriers made it to the play-offs last season where they were knocked out at the quarter-final stage by Boston United.

WHAT WE’RE SAYING

Speaking after the defeat at North Shields, Mitchell was positive about Spartans pre-season. “Again we’ve topped the minutes up and changed the system, played a different way and the most important thing is we haven’t picked up any injuries. We’ll be ready, we’ve got two sessions now and we’re looking forward to it, the lads need no motivating.

You can’t replicate the intensity of a proper game in friendlies. I think over the first two or three games, every team – not just Blyth – it’ll take a bit of time to get that intensity back.”

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Looking ahead to his side’s longest trip of the campaign, Penn said, “It’s been a tough pre-season, but we’ve got the minutes under the belt and trained hard and we’re looking forward to Saturday.

I think it’s a great time to play them (Blyth) and the pitch will be in good nick. Full respect to Terry and his team, I think they’ll be a lot stronger this year. He made them hard to beat at the end of the season and they look like a proper team.

They’ve signed some good players, he knows how to set up and works his team really well. Whether you play Man United or Blyth first game of the season, everyone is going to feel that edge and that nervousness and hopefully we can get the better of it.”

LAST TIME WE MET

The sides last met at Croft Park in April earlier this year with a header from Toby Lees earning Spartans a valuable point in the battle against relegation.

The meeting earlier last season was a comfortable 3-0 win for Harriers at Aggborough Stadium last August, with the Spartans last win against Kiddy coming in January 2020 thanks to a goal from Lewis Hawkins.

MEDIA COVERAGE

Join Niall Bromley and Phil Castiaux on Blyth Live from 2:45pm

Posted by Stephen Burton