Beyond our expectations at the end of the season gone Gary Whild has assembled a side that, on paper, should be able to compete with the likes of big spenders Forest Green and Eastleigh, footballing sides like Gateshead and Wrexham, ex league sides Cheltenham and Tranmere and then tomorrows visitors Grimsby Town. I went to see Grimsby in the play off final at Wembley and to be honest they were the better side and would have made worthier winners than Bristol Rovers. This season they're ninety nine percent on to win the title outright.
Their manager, Paul Hurst, has strengthened his side with care and bought in players that should confirm their championship credentials. Added to the capture of Josh Gowling from us last season he has also bought in a player we had been watching but Omar Bogle was deemed to be too expensive following Solihulls valuation of their young starlet. Also making his way Humberside was the former Bristol Rovers man Andy Monkhouse who for reasons unknown didn't find the attractions of the football league very convincing.
The one real find though was Padraig Amond from Morecambe. He has banged in nine goals during ten close season games and seems to be player on fire. Our defence will need to be on top form controlling his chances of continuing that spree at our expense.
That defence has been strengthened with the arrival of Kelvin Langmead and Lathaniel Rowe-Turner in front of two good keepers, either Alex Palmer or Dean Snedker - only one can play though. We do still seem a bit weak at left back but hopefully the possible signing confirmation of Rob Taylor later today will ease any worries there.
Up-front we have strengthened more with the arrival of Andre Wright from West Brom who will be hoping to force himself into the side to play along side either Craig Reid or Reece Styche. Supplying the ammo will be our, possibly, top signing of the summer one Adam Dawson (right). He has shown how good he is at crossing the ball and now it's up to the front men to finish them off.
On the injury front we have a couple of niggling injuries to un-named players but they should all be ok on the day. Grimsby, to our relief, have quite a few out though with John-Paul Pittman suffering a stomach strain, Scott Brown has an ankle problem that could need surgery, Marcus Marshall's knee is giving him some gip, Josh Sunter picked up a metatarsal break in the first friendly while Gregor Robertson has a poorly knee. The aforementioned Bogey Bogey Bogle Man has also had a knee injury but should be ok for the game.
So we're all ready for the 2015 to 2016 season and by tomorrow evening we'll hopefully have picked up our first three points in our quest to prove the doubters wrong.
STOP PRESS: The Harriers have today signed Tahvon Campbell on loan from WBA. Rob Taylor on non-contract terms and allowed Kennedy Digie to go out on loan to Hednesford.
Photo © KHFC
Palmer, Snedker, Hodgkiss, Rowe-Turner, Green, Clarke, Taylor, Jones, Maxwell, Langmead, Tunnicliffe, Campbell, Verma, Reffell, Spencer, Sweeney, Reid, Styche, Dawson, Dinsley, Hales, Singh, Wright.
Grimsby Town from:
McKeown, Bastock, Warrington, Tait, Robertson, Brown, Pearson, Gowling, Mackreth, Disley, Bogle, Amond, Monkhouse, Doig, Marshall, Clifton, Clay, Venney, Pittman, Arnold, Sunter, Nsiala, East, Newman.
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