Why should I watch..?

To see if Northwich Victoria can lay an early marker.

Steve Wilkes’ side have a testing start, including a visit from fellow promotion-hopefuls Congleton Town on Wednesday, and so will want to make a positive start.

They are likely to include at least two new recruits in their starting line-up, including former Kendal midfielder Martin Grundy who takes the place of departed captain Brad Cooke.

The visitors’ initial target is to improve on last season’s 14th-place finish on their debut in the North West Counties League’s top-flight after being promoted.

Coincidentally, Alport’s maiden league victory last term was against Vics.

READ > Northwich Victoria: season preview 2019-2020

What they’ve said

“Results in pre-season mean nothing. I’ve had good ones and bad ones, but it doesn’t matter so long as you win your first game.

“We’ll be looking to be more consistent than last year, that’s important for us, and in turn that will boost confidence.”

Steve Wilkes, Northwich Victoria manager

“I’d ask our fans to be patient because last season I felt our game was too long at times with aimless punts from the back just giving the ball to our opposition.

“This time around we’ll be far less careless and we know that our ball-retention will be much better.”

Luke Goddard, Whitchurch Alport manager

Numbers game

Nobody outside of the North West Counties League’s top three conceded fewer goals than Vics last season and the regular back-four that made them so difficult to beat remains intact

Man to keep an eye on

Tom Kilifin

The striker has been brought in to boost Vics’ goals tally, something manager Steve Wilkes believes is important if his side is to challenge for a promotion place this season.

And the signs this summer have been promising.

Joel Brownhill and Rob Doran will support the former Lancaster City front man in attack when Vics play their preferred 4-3-3 formation, and there is unlikely to be a more potent attacking trio in the Premier Division.

Vics team news

Steve Wilkes did not risk Kieron Kenny and Tom Kilifin (both hamstring) during a midweek friendly against Buxton, but is confident they will be fit again to feature this weekend.

Work commitments rule out Darryhl Mason indefinitely, while new recruit Jamie Hinchliffe is on holiday.

Whitchurch team news

Goalkeeper Dave Parton is unavailable and so youngster Jack Atkinson deputises between the posts.

Captain Darren Campion and midfielder Dylan Bath both serve suspensions carried over from last season as punishment for their dismissals in an encounter with 1874 Northwich.

Form guide (pre-season)

Vics P8 W3 D2 L3 F16 A14

Whitchurch P6 W2 D1 L3 F7 A14

Last season’s meetings

Whitchurch 1-0 Vics (September 22, 2018)

Vics 2-0 Whitchurch (January 26, 2019)

Essential information

When Saturday, August 3

Kick-off 3pm

Address Witton Albion FC, Wincham Park, Chapel Street, Wincham, Northwich CW9 6DA

Admission Adults £7, Concessions £5 (Seniors and students), Under 16s £3, Under 12s Free (if accompanied by paying adult)

Parking Free at the ground