New manager John Sheridan leads his Notts County side into town tomorrow (Saturday) for the launch of a new season of domestic football action.
The Magpies take on Linby Colliery Welfare in a high-profile friendly that should attract a bumper summer crowd to the neutral venue of the Rolls-Royce Leisure sports ground on Watnall Road, Hucknall.
Hopes are high within the Linby camp that Sheridan, who was appointed boss at Meadow Lane only six weeks ago, will be fielding a strong side, littered with well-known first-team players.
“John has promised to bring a full squad, so supporters can expect to see players such as ex-England and Manchester United international Alan Smith, ex-England U21 striker Jon Stead and new signing Jonathan Forte,” said Linby’s new press oficer Kieran Booker.
“The day will also include a question-and-answer session with John Sheridan and members of Notts County’s first-team coaching staff at 1.30 pm in the leisure club.
“And there will be plenty of other entertainment for the family to enjoy on the day, such as a bouncy castle, barbecue and ice-cream van.”
The match is also the first for Linby since the appointment of their own new manager, Lewis Saxby, who has replaced the departing Dave Marlow.
“It’s set to be an exciting game for the fans of both teams as they get their first taste of the tactics their new managers will try out,” added Booker.
“The doors open at 12 noon, ahead of a 3 pm kick-off. Tickets are priced £5 for adults and £3 for under-16s.”
The Magpies are regular pre-season visitors to the Dispatch district, including two years ago when they won 4-1 at Rolls in a match that helped to forge strong links between the two clubs.
The 51-year-old Sheridan has been hired after a disastrous 2015/16 campaign in which they finished as low as 17th in League Two, suffered two humiliating defeats to neighbours Mansfield Town, were knocked out of the FA Cup by non-league Salford City, lost three managers and were hit by the resignation as chairman of owner Ray Trew, who put the club up for sale.
It’s not the former Chesterfield boss’s first link-up with Nottinghamshire because, back in 1989, as a talented midfield player, he was signed by Brian Clough at Forest for £650,000, only to be sold weeks later to Sheffield Wednesday after just one appearance.
Meanwhile the 26-year-old Saxby says he is settling in well after making the switch to Linby from Mansfield Town Ladies. He has a two-year plan to turn the club into promotion candidates in the Central Midlands League, which coincides with major improvements being made to their ground at Church Lane.
After the Notts match, Linby have five more pre-season friendlies lined up, including attractive home games with Teversal on Saturday, July 23 and Arnold Town on Saturday, July 30.