Tomorrow sees Notts County kick off their pre-season programme with two local friendlies.
The first is the 1pm kick-off at Northern Premier League Division One South side Ilkeston FC.
I spoke with supporter Wayne Morledge ahead of the match for his thoughts about the game as Notts County kick off their preparations for 2011/12 with two squads set up with two games at local sides.
What have the last 12 months been like for you as an Ikeston FC fan?
One word, nightmare! We had a decent start to the season but then all of a sudden everything was gone. The club was liquidated and Ilkeston Town FC was no more. That was the most devastating feeling I’ve ever experienced as a football fan.
Over the course of the following months the supporters built a bid to take control of a new club but this was eventually won by SR Education.
So far they have proven to be brilliant. They persuaded Kevin Wilson and Darren Caskey to stay on as managers and they ran an Academy setup which won the league title and cup double in their first ever season. At last the future is looking bright again.
With all the off-field drama out of the way now, how are expectations of the season ahead of you?
With us starting from scratch again and with being relegated a couple of divisions it’s hard to talk about expectations. I’m just really pleased to be able to go and watch football at the New Manor Ground again. Some fans are already talking about promotion but I’m more realistic and think it’s going to be tough this season. I would hope to finish top half in our first season.
Which of your players should Notts be wary of in their friendly game?
At the time of this interview we’ve only officially signed 5 players. 4 of these are products of the Academy and the other is Gary Ricketts. Gary played for us for the last couple of seasons and is a big strong centre forward who doesn’t mind challenging hard defenders and goalkeepers alike.
And then, who’s the weakest link? Anyone you think might struggle through the afternoon?
Darren Caskey is part of the management team and if he signs up for playing duty then he may struggle to last the entire 90 minutes. When he’s played previously for us he still had the skill but not the pace!
Similarly, how much do you know about Notts? Who would you consider the danger men and who are you not too concerned about?
I guess the obvious danger man is Lee Hughes but I must confess that I don’t know a lot about the current Notts team – did I mention that I’m a Forest fan also?
Finally, a prediction for the afternoon?
Plenty of goals and a chance for one of the Ilkeston players to make history by scoring the first ever goal for Ilkeston FC. So long as we can make up a full team then I think it would probably be something like 7-2 :-) I hope all you pies enjoy your day at the NMG helping to make a little bit history.
Follow Wayne on Twitter here should you want to hear more! I’ll also be speaking to Wayne after the match so check back here at some point post-match to see what he made of the day!