As pre-season gets into full swing over the coming days, Ruardean Hill prepare themselves to begin their centenary year in style – with the visit of Newport County Academy.
The Gloucestershire County League Side host their young visitors next Tuesday (9th July) at the Ruardean Hill Sports Club in the Forest of Dean and ahead of the game, joint First Team Manager Brian Burke told Severn Sport how excited he is to lead his side into their 100th year.
“The club as a whole are excited by hosting a Newport Academy side and testing ourselves against the young side.
The committee have worked hard over the last few months getting everything in place for the club’s centenary year and as well as Newport we are also hosting Swindon Town Academy at the end of the month.
The boys are looking forward to the game and really getting pre-season started with the first game.” Burke said.
During the summer the County League saw an array of promotions and relegations, with Stonehouse Town being promoted into the Hellenic League after Lebeq United were promoted as Champions into the Western League.
Four new sides have been added to the league, with Quedgeley Wanderers and Champions Sharpness coming in from the Gloucestershire Northern Senior League amongst them and Burke has cast his eye on an already competitive looking County League season.
“It’s all change with the new sides in the league. We have lost two good sides in Lebeq and Stonehouse and I’m sure they will both do well in their respective new leagues.
Of the new teams we are most familiar with Sharpness, having played against them in the Gloucestershire Northern Senior League and I am sure they will bring a lot to the league and have high expectations.
I believe Frampton and Rockleaze will be looking to start the season as they finished last season and hopefully it makes for an exciting this season.” Burke added.
Ahead of their first friendly on Tuesday, Burke has also assessed his side’s first few sessions whilst targeting the club’s highest ever finish in the County League.
“Pre-season has been great so far. We will have had five sessions before the first game and the lads have worked hard and done everything Neil and I have asked of them.
There is nothing like match sharpness and we are looking forward to seeing how the lads fitness levels look going into the new season.
We are entering our third season in the County League and we want to continue to improve and play some football too. We have a great core to the squad that have been together for a while now, winning three promotions along the way.
We have been introducing new players to compliment those players and we are hopeful of a good season. The club are always looking to move forward and we feel we have now established ourselves in the County League.
We want to continue to improve and get the club to it’s highest finish in the County League this season, the committee are very supportive and are always looking to improve the club off the field.” Burke said.
Ruardean Hill vs Newport County Academy takes place on Tuesday 9th July; kick off 18:45