Spalding United are returning to pre-season training as they prepare for their Bet Victor NPL South East Division opener at Sutton Coldfield Town on August 17.
The Tulips were due to return to pre-season training last night (Wednesday) in preparation for the new season with the fixtures and the draws for the early rounds of the FA Cup and Trophy having been released.
After the trip to the West Midlands on the opening day the first home game comes the following Tuesday against Loughborough Dynamo.
That’s followed on August 24 with the Emirates FA Cup Preliminary Round tie with Dereham Town.
The Norfolk side play at the same level of the non-league pyramid as Spalding and finished 14th in last year’s Isthmian League North Division.
“I don’t really know a lot about them,” says manager Matt Easton, “But Lewis (Thorogood, assistant manager) knows a couple of their coaches so we have some information on them.
“I’ve heard they play good football and have a decent side.
“They may have the edge given where they finished last season but we will be at home so it should be a good battle between the sides.
“We’ve got to look as far as we can in the cup.
“Obviously we’re not going to win the competition but it can be great for the club and for the supporters.
“It also helps in what we’re trying to do with getting everyone in the community on board with what we’re trying to do here at Spalding.”
The FA Trophy’s Extra Preliminary Round draw has been less kind with the Tulips facing a long cross-country trip to league colleagues Chasetown on Saturday, September 28.
The Staffordshire side know all about the benefits of the FA Cup having experienced money-spinning runs in the mid 2000s.
Other fixture highlights for Spalding include an away trip to Wisbech on Boxing Day before they host Lincoln United on New Year’s Day.
The season ends at home to Frickley Athletic on Saturday, April 25.
Easton says he’s not one to scour the fixture list before the season starts and he’s happy with how his squad are shaping up.
“We have to focus on ourselves,” he continued. “We’re working on our fitness and formations and if we get all that nailed down and do our jobs then we’ll do well.
“A few of the players decided to stick around from last season and we’ve been able to add a few so it’s been a little bit easier than I though.
“The squad got together last week which was optional but quite a lot attended so that hopefully means they’re all looking forward to pre-season.
“As a management team we’ve got what we wanted, a few trialists will be along for pre-season, a few in mind for the U23s, and a couple for the first team.
“We may add one more, though you never know what can happen in pre-season in terms of players picking up injuries.
“If we don’t add anybody then I will be happy come the start of the season anyway.
“They would have to be of good quality and have a good personality that will fit in with the players we have here.
“That’s how we’ve based our recruitment.”