PREVIEW Goole v Glossop North End
Thursday 10th August 2017 11:40 Sports Posted by Adam Higgins

Joint-managers Paul Phillips and Steve Halford will take charge of their first competitive game when Glossop North End travel to Goole on Saturday.

After a busy summer, the Hillmen will be looking to get up and running with a win when they make the trip to east Yorkshire on the opening day of the 2017-18 Evo-Stik First Division North season.

Glossop enjoyed a mixed pre-season on the field – winning three, drawing two and losing two of their seven friendlies.

They began with a 2-2 draw at Cheadle Town before three successive wins – 6-2 against Chadderton, 3-0 over Buxton┬áin the High Peak cup and 2-0 at Abbey Hey. That sequence was followed by back-to-back defeats, 3-0 at 1874 Northwich and 1-0 at home by Farsley Celtic, before preparations were concluded with a creditable 1-1 draw against Evo-Stik Premier Division outfit Marine at Surrey Street last Saturday.

But there have been plenty of arrivals, with 14 players joining the club – the latest being forward Ben Deegan last week – as Phillips and Halford, who replaced Chris Willcock who resigned in May after four years at the helm, embarked on building a squad that is capable of gaining promotion to the Premier Division.

The start of the Hillmen’s third successive campaign in the eighth tier of English football sees them pitch up at the Victoria Pleasures Ground (pictured above) – a stadium which doesn’t hold great memories from last term, where Glossop lost 2-1 last November.

They made up for it in March at Surrey Street, leaving it late to earn a 2-0 home win over the Yorkshire outfit courtesy of goals from substitutes Dale Johnson and Karl Jones.

But Glossop’s bid to reach the play-offs for a second successive campaign resulted in disappointment after an indifferent end to the season which proved costly, as they finished eighth and three points behind fifth place after losing 5-2 at home to eventual champions Lancaster City on the final day.

Phillips and Halford will undoubtedly be looking to tighten up the defence after Glossop – who won exactly half of their 42 league games last term – boasted the worst defensive record in the top half of the table last term, conceding 70 goals.

They may be faced with a selection dilemma this weekend, however, with Lee Rick, Chris Baguley, Connor Martin, Liam Wood, Billy Hasler-Cregg and Dom Barrett all missing last week’s final warm-up game through injury, while Jay Gorton missed out through illness and Grant Marshall was hurt in the warm-up.

Phillips confirmed to the Chronicle on Thursday that Wood and Martin will definitely be out, while Liam Brownhill has a “50/50” chance of recovering from an ankle injury and Rick could be on the bench after sustaining a back injury.

He also said that there may be a new addition to the squad before Saturday’s game.

Meanwhile, Goole will be hoping to make a positive start on home soil if they are to improve on last season’s struggles.

They also have a tough run-in against Bamber Bridge, Brighouse Town and Colne, the latter of which finished in the top five last season, later this month.

Karl Rose’s side were transferred from the Evo-Stik First Division South, where they had spent three seasons, last summer and endured a difficult campaign, in which they finished second from bottom with 36 points – having won just nine of their 42 league games.

Although they were due to be relegated, the club were handed a reprieve when Ilkeston were excluded from the league.

Glossop will be hoping there is some kind of hangover from Goole and they will be able to field a strong side of their own in their bid to make a winning start to a league campaign which promises much, with expectations high that Phillips and Halford can deliver the league title for the Surrey Street outfit.

A long campaign starts here, with a challenging home game to follow against Lancashire side Clitheroe on Tuesday night before local rivals Mossley make the short trip next Saturday (August 19) in the FA Cup preliminary round.