ST HELENS Town kick off their new North West Counties Football League season on Saturday on the ground where they completed last season’s campaign, facing Maine Road at Brantingham Road, Chorlton.
Town will be looking to avenge a closing-day 6-0 drubbing.
The new season’s home campaign opens at Brocstedes Park in Ashton-in-Makerfield on Tuesday at 7.45pm when Town entertain AFC Blackpool.
They are at home again the following Saturday against Alsager.
The draws for the early rounds of the FA Cup, FA Vase and NW Counties League Challenge Cup have been made and, in the FA Cup, St Helens Town have been drawn at home to neighbours Atherton Collieries in the extra-preliminary round on August 16, with the winners travelling to Radcliffe Borough a fortnight later to fight it out for the chance to take on Skelmersdale United in the first qualifying round.
In the Vase, Town travel to Irlam in the first round qualifying on September 6, the winners taking on Nostell Miners Welfare at home on October 4.
Later that month, St Helens open their League Challenge Cup campaign with a second round tie away to the winners of the first round clash between Widnes and new boys Barnton.
The club’s chiefs say if all goes according to plan the team will return to playing home matches in St Helens, at the planned new facilities at Ruskin Drive.
It is the only club to enjoy an unbroken tenure in the leading division and it is considered a priority this season to maintain Premier League membership ahead of the potential return to the town.
A re-branding is under way as the club sets out on its 33rd consecutive season in the top flight of the North West Counties Football League.
The borough’s coat of arms has been incorporated into the club’s re-fashioned badge and a reversion will follow in due course to their traditional blue and white colours.
Opening two months of league fixtures:
August: 2, Maine Road, away; 5, AFC Blackpool, home; 9, Alsager, home; 13, Bacup & Rossendale, away; 18, Runcorn Town, away; 23, Colne, away; 26, Stockport Sports, home.
September: 2, 1874 Northwich, away; 9, Abbey Hey, home; 13, AFC Liverpool, home; 16, Runcorn Linnets, home; 20, Winsford, away; 23, Bootle, away; 27, West Didsbury and Chorlton, home.