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THE OPINIONS EXPRESSED BELOW ARE ENTIRELY THOSE OF THE CONTRIBUTOR AND MAY NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THOSE OF THE CLUB

From the press-box #4 – By Neil Winsor

THE return of the lads to pre-season training always provides optimism, as it always does for fans of clubs up and down the country, been at Hall Road Rangers is, and always will be no different.

With the sun beating down at Haworth Park, during Saturday’s opener and the warm evening sun last night, pre-season training is probably the last thing people would actually enjoy, admittedly the usual disjointedness of the whole time of year doesnt exactly excite me either, if I’m honest.

Haworth Park has been a joy to be around this week again though, and the response from the players and coaches has been extremely positive, as no fewer then 50 players have attended both sessions, signs we as a club, are taking this period extremely seriously.

Any potential new signings are in place, as are our friendlies, whilst every coach appears to know their roles from one session to another, it has definitely appeared to be extremely well organised.

With Haworth Park deemed as ‘a land of opportunity’ for younger players in particular the response to come down and have a go has been excellent.

So what have the main talking points been, from the opening week of Rangers preparations?

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Aside from James Hitchcock’s tan, Sam O’Malley’s (second left) NBA like dress sense, not to mention skipper Jacob Norburn going to the wrong venue for training, the biggest talking point is how quickly all players have seemed to settle back in to what can be, quite a daunting situation, especially for the new younger players.

Any ‘social awkwardness’ as Bill put it this week though has eased and banter soon starts flying around once again.

One of the talking points appears to be the presence of the reserves and Under 19’s which has also caused a split in opinion.

I personally found from previous experience with former clubs the setup works.

It will give Bill Gill and Andrew Watts the opportunity to watch first hand those that they may not necessarily see otherwise, and in the past have had to rely on the trusted opinions of others.

The added benefit will come when the younger players are asked to step up into the first team environment, which can also be difficult due to not necessarily been familiar with team mates, this also is eradicated.

The sessions appear to have been extremely well organised, and not just Bill and Andy, but Paul Mortimer and Paul Richardson, as well as Chris Wright and Harry Stanforth deserve credit for that.

It’s too early to be talking about expectations, but I do believe we will surprise a few people such has been the early quality on show.

We as spectators probably won’t learn anything during this pre-season period admittedly, it will more likely be an exercise for those in the know to see who fits into their plans and who does not, whilst we all get a look at a plethora of players in the process.

So come down, be patient and get behind those that are chosen to wear the shirt.

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Next Wednesday night’s home friendly with Bridlington Town I have no doubt, although only a friendly, will be an excellent advert for football in the East Riding.

Curtis has recruited extremely well once again and the spine of their side will be particuarly strong with the additions of Danny Stimpson, Nathan Doyle (right), Shaq McKenzie and Nathan Modeste so it will be an excellent test for us.

Bridlington definitely won’t treat this as a friendly and I’m sure it will be a decent game, and hopefully we can get a good atmosphere.

Sure to help with our matchday atmosphere is the arrival in the bar of our four pint pitcher jugs!

They arrived this week and will be available on Wednesday night.

We like to shift our fair share of beer as a club and we hope this will help with creating an atmosphere at our home games.

They are available from just £10, with a full price list available at the bar, so come and enjoy our full matchday experience, with that little bit more of your favourite drink on draught.

This last weekend also saw three of our junior teams clinch tournament wins, so congratulations to Chris Myers-Myerhoff’s Under-Six Sharks side, Jonathan Ladley’s Under 14’s, and former Hall Road keeper, Mike Burley’s Under 9’s.

Our junior teams continue to flourish, and this will be something we will be promoting more of across all our age groups, when the respective junior season’s get underway in September.

So we’re nearly there then, as it is now less then just a week before football actually does come home, and I hope to see as many of you down for our football double header on Wednesday.

This starts with the curtain raiser involving Paul Innes and Mike Rustill’s Under 14’s taking on Priory Lynx at 5.45pm