By Bob Wood
Newton Aycliffe FC begin their Ebac Northern League season on Saturday (July 30) with a home game against Newcastle Benfield.
Brian Atkinson begins his first full season in charge at Moore Lane with several new faces added to the squad.
Among them is prolific striker Jamie Owens, returning for his third spell at the club. Most recently Jamie has been with Stockton Town, playing at Step 4 one level higher than the Northern League.
Aycliffe finished last season in fourth place in the League, their highest ever finish. Brian and chairman Allan Oliver are looking to push on & improve on that.
The visit of Benfield brings some familiar faces back to the SecuriCorp Stadium.
Atkinson’s predecessor Colin Stromsoy manages Benefield while several former Aycliffe players have joined him on Tyneside.
Aycliffe have completed a tough preseason schedule, designed to improve their fitness levels.
Pre-season included fixtures against higher opposition such as Darlington, Spennymoor Town & Sunderland Under 23s.
The fitness levels will be needed as the Aycliffe squad now face ten games before the end of August.
Following Saturday’s game, Seaham Red Star visit on Tuesday, August 7 (7:30pm kick off). That game is followed by a trip to Ashington on Saturday, August 6, for the start of the Emirates FA Cup.
Sat 30 July: Newcastle Benfield (h)
Sat 2 Aug: Seaham Red Star (h)
Sat 6 Aug: Ashington (a) FA Cup
Tue 9 Aug: Redcar Athletic (a)
Sat 13 Aug: Tow Law (h)
Tue 16 Aug: Crook Town (h)
Full details of this season’s fixtures are available on the club website www.newtonaycliffefc.co.uk.