By Karl Collinson, 4 August 2017
Penrith AFC begin the 2017/18 season with a mouthwatering F.A. Cup tie against West Auckland Town at Frenchfield Park.
Both teams have had a large influx of new players throughout the summer and both will be looking at progressing to the next round.
Bonny Blues manager Jim Nichols is anxious to get the competitive games underway and is especially looking forward to seeing how the new recruits adapt to life at Frenchfield Park, “It’s been a long time since we appeared in our last competitive fixture and I know all of the players are raring to go and begin the season.”
Nichols has done his homework on the opponents and is under no illusion that last season’s disappointing league position is no sign of how the game will go.
“West Auckland Town are a much improved side under new management, and having watched them against Gretna 2008 a couple of weeks ago, I know that this will be a difficult tie.
The last two months have seen a large change in personnel in our squad, with nine new additions coming in, fighting for first team places.
A big boost to the squad was the commitment of the players from last year who have stayed, a large number received lucrative offers to join other clubs but they have bought in to what we are trying to do and the brand of football we are trying to play and I’m sure they will help the new players settle in and continue to push the club forward.”
Nichols has also been impressed by how the players have adapted to the intense training sessions throughout pre season, “The pre-season schedule has been demanding for the players. A new fitness coach has delivered, at times, quite brutal sessions that have pushed the players both mentally and physically. They’ve done hill sprints, worked in pairs to carry tree trunks round Frenchfields and pushed sledges stacked with concrete blocks down the roads.
The players look in really good shape and I hope this can give us an advantage over other teams at the start of the season.”
Kick off is 3pm ans there will be a live commentary on Eden FM