BY Niall Bromley
Blyth Spartans travel to Dunston UTS on Friday evening – their second friendly in just three days (KO: 7:45PM)
Spartans opened up their pre-season campaign with a 3-0 defeat at Hebburn Town on Tuesday, though handed opportunities to a number of trialists.
And tomorrow’s trip to the UTS Stadium will give boss Michael Nelson the chance to assess those players further as he looks to build his squad for the upcoming campaign.
As ever, it is also an opportunity to get more minutes in the tank for members of the first-team squad.
Matthew Elsdon will miss the game with a knee injury, which will be monitored over the next few days. The hope is that it is not too serious.
Olly Scott returns to the squad after missing Tuesday’s game at Hebburn with a knock, while Simon Heslop will feature for the first time as an official Spartan.
As previously mentioned, a number of trialists are expected to play.
Managed by former Spartan Chris Swailes, the visit of Blyth will be Dunston’s fourth game of pre-season.
So far, the Northern League North West Division side have lost twice against Whickham and Birtley, whilst picking up a victory against North Shields.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Dunston UTS captain Craig Scott told their club website: “We were in a bit of limbo waiting for a date to start the season.
“Now we’ve got dates, training has ramped up and I expect to be cracking on as we move ahead into the season.
“Players’ fitness levels are good and spirits are high, so it’s looking really good from that perspective.
“I’m really looking forward to the season starting and I’m excited to see everybody back at the ground when things turn get to some sense of normality.”
WHAT WE’RE SAYING
Speaking after the midweek clash with Hebburn, Nelson told BSAFCTV. “We’ll see what’s available to us injury wise
“We want to try and work on a system and a style of play but we’re also aware we won’t be able to stick to one system over the course of the season.
“It’s something we’ve been speaking to the lads about in terms of having a system we want, but also a Plan B.
“I’m sure we’ll change throughout the pre-season and we also want to keep people who are coming to watch us guessing.
“Some of the players were asked to play in an unnatural position due to injuries on Tuesday, so we have spoken to them and we will get them along on Friday.
“Hopefully they can play in the right positions and impress.”
LAST TIME WE MET
Spartans faced Dunston during their 2018/19 pre-season preparations and ran out 4-1 winners at the UTS Stadium.
Bradley Fewster and Jack Butler both scored braces.
A crowd of 200 will be welcomed into the UTS Stadium. Dunston have stressed admission is decided on a first come, first served basis.
A check will be kept of admission tickets and once the permitted 200 capacity is reached the gate will be closed and no further persons will be allowed entry to the ground.
Entry to the game for spectators will be via the turnstiles at the car park end of the ground only. The club house end turnstile will be closed to spectators. This entrance will only be open to Officials, players and disabled only.
Temperature checks will be conducted at both turnstiles as well as collecting details of those who enter the ground, as per the guidelines relating to track and trace. This is to ensure the safety of those attending the game.
For more information, please click HERE.
We are aiming to live stream the game via Insight4, though will update supporters closer to kick-off.