Seaham Red Star clinched promotion to the top flight in the Ebac Northern League last season and they start the new campaign with the long trip to Penrith tomorrow.
Manager Mark Collingwood admits that he is nervous, saying: “We don’t know what to expect and have a tough start to the campaign.
“After Penrith, we are at home to North Shields and then champions Marske United in the FA Cup, but we are looking forward to playing at a higher level.”
Collingwood has lost seven players, but signed a similar number, lining up David Scorer and Nick Cain from Dunston UTS, Robbie Bird (Whitley Bay), Dan Robinson (Ryton and Crawcrook Albion), Craig Roberts (South Shields), Ricky Fenwick (Marske United) and Paul Gardiner (Jarrow Roofing).
A huge disappointment is the news that Dean Nicholson will be sidelined for the season through injury.
Jarrow Roofing’s long-serving manager, Richie McLoughlin, has also been busy on the transfer front ahead of his team’s opener against Norton and Stockton Ancients.
Michael Riley, David Gordon, Ian Balmain and Jordan Lartey have come in, while McLoughlin is delighted to have striker John Campbell back.
“When John moved to Oxford during last season, we lost of bit of firepower and having him in the attack will unquestionably improve our goals tally,” claimed McLoughlin.
Bishop Auckland visit Morpeth, while West Auckland have an intriguing clash at Whitley Bay.