Hednesford Town have turned for home in their pre-season programme: five games gone, four to go and with a rather eclectic mix of challenges ahead in the shape of a home game against Stoke City under 21s and then away trips to Rhyl and Stafford Rangers.
After a narrow defeat on Tuesday night to Chester, on Saturday the Pitmen welcome their near-neighbours and fellow-National League side Wrexham who will again provide a stern test, although on Wednesday, against Staffordshire opposition from rather higher up the football pyramid, they lost 6-0 at home to Stoke City. Prior to that they drew 0-0 at Tamworth last Saturday.
Manager Rob Smith will continue to consider his options, both from those players who are already committed for the season ahead and others who are still looking to impress enough to earn a place in the squad.
The pre-season programme was disrupted by injuries from the outset, with Luke Benbow and Ahmed Obeng limping out of the opener, and although Obeng has since returned both to the line-up and to scoring form, Tuesday night saw new centre-back Kyle Morrison substituted in the first half. In addition Paul McCone has still to feature as he looks to shake off the injury which saw him miss the end of last term.
Wrexham’s proud history dates back to 1864 and includes, incidentally, a spell in the Birmingham and District League early in the 20th Century. They were admitted to the Third Division North of the Football League in 1921 and as recently as 2003 were promoted to League One. But decline on and off the field set in, they were relegated to the Conference in 2008 and the club almost went out of business before their Supporters Trust took control in November 2011. Having finished as Conference Runners-up in 2012 and Play-off Finalists in 2013, when they also won the FA Trophy, subsequent seasons have again seen their fortunes decline.
Last season they finished in 11th place, one above Chester, but did return to Wembley where they faced our perennial rivals North Ferriby United in the Trophy Final but, having led 2-0, they ultimately needed an equaliser late in extra time to force a 3-3 draw but then lost on penalties.
Admission prices for the game, which kicks off at 3pm are:
Adults £7 and Concessions £5.