Pontefract Collieries set out pre-season plans with nine warm-up games

Connor Smythe, who has committed to another year at Pontefract Collieries.
Connor Smythe, who has committed to another year at Pontefract Collieries.

Pontefract Collieries have begun preparations for the new season with the players back in training.

Hopes are high that the club can continue its upward curve following back to back promotions and a runners-up finish in their first-ever campaign at Evo-Stik League level.

Colls have retained most of the players who have helped them on their climb, having re-signed 12 of their original squad from last season.

The most recent to commit for another year is left-back Connor Smythe, who chipped in with some key goals and assists last season as well as being part of an effective back four.

Four have left for pastures new, the latest to go being striker Chris Jackson, but the management team have signed five new players with more potential targets identified.

Ponte are aiming to be fully fit and ready for their second year in the Evo-Stik League, in which they will play in the newly created North West Division. They have planned nine pre-season games, starting on Saturday, July 13 at home to a strong side in 1874 Northwich, from Cheshire, who they lost to in the FA Vase last season.

Northwich made good friends with the management and staff at the Ponte club on that day and went on to reach the semi-finals. It will be a tough start for Colls and kick-off is 3pm.

Ponte go again on Tuesday, July 16, at home to NCE Premier League side Liversedge (7.45pm), who are expected to bring a strong team down. The third warm-up sees another NCE League side, Selby Town, visit the Beechnut Lane ground on Saturday, July 20 (3pm).

The following Saturday (July 27) brings NCE Premier side Eccleshill United to Pontefract for a game kicking off at 3pm.

Colls then make the short journey to play neighbours Glasshoughton Welfare on Tuesday, July 30 (7.45pm) with the Bill Cook Memorial Trophy at stake.

With only a couple of days rest for the Colls players, they then entertain North Gawber, the Sheffield County Senior Premier Division winners and county cup winners last season. The game takes place on Thursday, August 1 (7.45pm).

The team go on their travels on Saturday, August 3 when they play Atherton Collieries for the Collieries Friendship Cup. This was started last year when Ponte won the first match at home and they will now be away with a 3pm kick-off.

They then return home when entertaining Huddersfield Town U21s on Tuesday, August 6 (7.30pm). Some talented youngsters are set to be on show and they were a pleasure to watch when they came down last season.

The last pre-season game is at home against neighbours and rivals, but good friends Frickley Athletic on Saturday, August 10 (3pm).

The two teams met for the first time in league games last season, with both matches being well supported, but they are not in the same division this time as Frickley will now compete in the South East Division.