FOOTBALL is back in force for our local teams this weekend.

North West Counties League sides Northwich Victoria and Barnton returned to competitive action a fortnight ago, while Northern Premier teams Witton Albion and 1874 Northwich get stuck into league action again this Saturday.

While 1874 tasted competitive football last weekend in the FA Cup, which ended in a 2-1 loss at Colne, this will be the first official outing for Albion outside of friendly games.

Witton, relegated to NPL West last season, open their campaign at Newcastle Town but will be at home to Glossop North End on Tuesday.

This is John Macken’s first season in charge having replaced the released Carl Macauley, and he has assembled a completely new squad for Albion.

Central midfielder Josh Paterson is the only player retained from last season’s squad and even he spent more time at Alsager Town on dual-registration than at the U Lock It Stadium.

The club has officially confirmed 15 new signings, including five former 1874 Northwich players – midfielder Taylor Kennerley, full-back Jack Tinning, defender Lee Jackson, striker Joe Duckworth and defender Mike Koral, the latter two having also previously played for Witton.

Also returning to the club are midfielder Prince Haywood and defender Danny Adigun.

Completing the squad, with their last known clubs in brackets, are right-back Jordan Darlington, who is on dual-reg with Eccleshall; midfielder Sam Billington (Bamber Bridge), striker Will Igoe (Winsford Over/Barnton), midfielder Cameron Fogerty (Hyde United), central defender Oli Hitchcox (Wrexham AFC), forward Elliot Rokka (Atherton Colls), goalkeeper Ollie Martin (City of Liverpool), midfielder Kingsley Williams (Colne).

1874’s campaign starts at home to Prescot Cables at Barnton’s Townfield Lane ground before visiting Kidsgrove on Tuesday.

Midfield player Sam Adetiloye has joined up with the squad this week.

Most recently with Widnes, he also has NPL experience with Ramsbottom United and has had game time with Padiham after a number of years with Salford City.

Meanwhile, Vics are away to AFC Liverpool in the NWC Premier Division on Saturday and travel to Winsford United on Monday.

Barnton go to Cheadle Heath Nomads in First Division South on Saturday.