THE 1874 COLUMN - By Matt Waters

WITH FA and Government guidance allowing friendlies to take place from August 1, co-manager Wayne Goodison has laid out how 1874 Northwich can now move forward with pre-season plans.

After six weeks of training without knowing when football may return, Wayne told me that from Saturday, the squad will start full pre-season training.

He said: “It’s great to know that we now have a date where football can return.

"The last few weeks we have tried to vary our sessions to make them as realistic as possible but now we can really ramp up our sessions as we’d like to moving into our full pre-season schedule from Saturday.

"We’ve been training once a week, however now it will be three times a week, twice when we have a game on a Saturday or in midweek and we can start moving things forward.”

As well as the league programme looking like starting in September, we now also have dates for the FA Cup, FA Vase and also when player signings can be announced.

It was clear when speaking to Wayne that his and Paul Bowyer’s ethos of continuity will play a big factor over the coming season.

He said: “Other than the first season me and Bow were appointed, we’ve never seen the benefit of going out and bringing in lots of players.

"The players we have, have been together for an unprecedented amount of time at this level and they’ve all bought into the club, so keeping them is a bigger priority than bringing too many players in.

"We are delighted with how many players are staying, it shows how much they care and enjoy playing for the club. There are also one or two new lads down at training we are looking at bringing in so we’ll see how they go over the next few weeks.”

Wayne also mentioned how important it is for the players to have a starting date for the season.

“We are lucky that our players are so self-driven and motivated to keep fit in their own lives outside of football so we know they have been working hard," he said.

"However, nothing can prepare you for the football season more than by playing the game itself.

"The past few weeks we have seen how much they just want to be playing games so now that they have the opportunity to do that is only going to give them that extra boost.

"They’ve been terrific the last six weeks, they were under no obligation to train, but we knew with the characters we have they’d be there.

"The hard work starts now for us all. Myself and Paul can now really create more challenging sessions as the weeks go on.

"The friendlies that we have lined up will continue to test them against teams that we feel have good set-ups and also against teams in leagues where we want to be!”