MATTY Clarke has been talking about what it means to him to be named club captain of Northwich Victoria Football Club.

New boss Steve Pickup has handed the responsibility to Vics’ longest serving player as they head into the new season in the Midland League, having been laterally moved from the North West Counties League by the FA.

“It’s an honour,” said the Northwich-born midfielder, who first joined the club he supports in August 2015 and rejoined in November 2017 after a short spell with Stockport Town.

“This is a massive non-league club. I’ve been here for six or seven years now and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

He will be heading a new-look squad being assembled by Pickup for his first season in charge following the departure of his former boss Steve Wilkes and many of last season’s squad not committing to Vics due to the extra travel demands of playing in the Midland League Premier Division.

Vics did appeal against the lateral move but the FA upheld their original end-of-season allocation decision.

“It was disappointing not to get the appeal our way but it is what it is, we have to just go for this league now,” said Clarke, who has made 162 league and cup appearances since the Trickies became fan-owned.

“We are looking to get a strong team together and look to challenge for this league – and I think we can.”

Vics fans can get a first taste of how the new-look Vics squad is coming together on Tuesday in a friendly that has just been added to the pre-season calendar.

Pickup’s men will travel to neighbours Lostock Gralam on Tuesday, kick-off 7pm.

Another additional pre-season fixture confirmed this week is a trip to Hanley Town on Friday, July 28, kick-off 7.30pm, in what is the last of seven lined up matches before the season kicks off in earnest.

Vics’ updated pre-season fixture list: Tuesday 4th July 2023: Lostock Gralam FC v Northwich Vics 7pm.

Saturday 8th July 2023: Conwy Borough v Northwich Vics 2pm.

Tuesday 11th July 2023: Witton Albion v Northwich Vics 7.45pm.

Saturday 15th July 2023: Northwich Vics v Flint Town United 1pm.

Wednesday 19th July 2023: Newcastle Town v Northwich Vics 7.30pm.

Saturday 22nd July 2023: Thackley AFC v Northwich Vics 3pm.

Friday 28th July 2023: Hanley Town v Northwich Vics 7.30pm.