Vanarama Conference North
Stockport County v North Ferriby United
Saturday 9th August 2014; KO 3.00pm
Ferriby start their second season in the newly sponsored Vanarama Conference North with a trip to Stockport County on Saturday.
It will be a tough start for The Villagers with a large and vociferous crowd expected at Edgeley Park. There was much disappointment at Stockport last season as the side struggled to cope with life at Conference North level.
Stockport’s slide over recent years show how fortunes can change in a relatively short period of time. Only 16 years ago supporters of both clubs would not have anticipated the two sides meeting in a league fixture. Ferriby were in the Northern Counties East Premier Division and County finished eighth in the Football League Division One (now the Championship). Last season the two clubs met on equal terms for the first time in their history.
Ferriby won the same fixture last season, a result that sparked some anger from The Hatters’ supporters towards County officials.
Overall, Ferriby will be hoping to go one better than last season when they finished runners-up but missed out on promotion by losing to Guiseley in the play-offs. The Villager were probably the surprise package of Conference North last season. Opponents were surprised by Ferriby’s ability and commitment. The Club’s mottos is “Pride, Passion and Belief”, and these are qualities that this side has in abundance.
The element of surprise may now have gone but Ferriby’s squad is certainly capable of mounting another title challenge. However, nobody will be taking anything for granted.
Ferriby Manager Billy Heath said, “We are all looking forward to the new season. We know it is going to be just as tough as last season. At this level there are no easy games so we need to be consistent. However, we showed last season that we can more than compete at this level.
“Pre-season has gone really well. The new boys in the squad have settled-in well and there is a tremendous spirit in the team. The players have worked hard in training and performances in matches have generally been good.”
The defeat at Goole apart, Ferriby’s pre-season has gone well. Good results breed confidence but it is performances that matter more as players build their match fitness and develop new systems, tactics and partnerships.
Heath has plenty of options with his squad. He has players vying for a place in every position. That is a healthy position to be in as it provides cover for loss of for and injuries and also provides for tactical changes on a match-by-match basis.
Apart from Danny Hone who is carrying-over a three match suspension from last season, Heath should have his full squad available on Saturday. Picking the starting 16 will be a tough choice for Heath.
NFU’s probable squad : Adam Nicklin, Antoni Pecora, Dean Lisles, Josh Wilde, Nathan Peat, Gregg Anderson, Matt Wilson, Mark Gray, Liam King, Jon D’Laryea, Adam Bolder, Danny Emerton, Russell Fry, Nathan Jarman, Tom Denton, Tom Corner, Jamie Yates, Louis Bruce, Tim Taylor, Dan Clayton, Matty Kingston
Ferriby are at home to Hyde FC on Tuesday evening. The game kicks-off at 7.45.