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Official News

Match Preview: City v Ashford Town (Middx)
Posted by Andrew Dunn
Aug 11, 2017, 07:40

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It’s been 3 and a half months since Cambridge City last kicked a ball in competitive football, but tomorrow the wait is over as the curtain goes up on the Evostik South League, East Division campaign.

The Lilywhites start the season with a home game against Ashford Town (Middx). The match will see the first game for City in the lower reaches of the Southern League, after being relegated on goal difference from the Premier Division on the final day of last season.

The closed season hasn’t seen a massive change in personnel for City. In fact out of the starting line-up for the match against St Neots, only goalkeeper Dean Snedker, defenders Paul Cooper and Jordan Williams, midfielder Lee Stevenson as well as strikers Norman Wabo and Dan Walker are no longer at the club – the latter two were on loan from Southend United.

Coming into the squad are goalkeeper Niall Conroy, defenders Ian Miller and Mark Coulson, striker Lewis Wilson, midfielders Michael King, Ryan Towner and Tom Knowles who joins on loan from Cambridge United.

Given the core of the squad from last season still remain, City are in the eyes of many one of the contenders for honours come the end of the season. However, boss Robbie Nightingale has already pointed out that there are several other teams who, on paper, could be in the promotion mix at the end of the campaign.

The pre-season form for City has seen them win 3, draw 2 and lose 3 of their 8 fixtures. Their latest outing came against Norwich United on Tuesday night when they came away with a 3-3 draw.

City boss Robbie Nightingale is expecting a difficult encounter. “Ashford are a decent side. They are good going forward, and have an excellent striker who scored a hatful of goals for them last season. They finished in the top half of the table last season, and know what the league is all about, so it will be a real test for us on the opening day, and we will need to be at our very best to get a positive result”.

Nightingale has injury concerns over Ross Paterson, Ryan Sharman and Mark Coulson. The trio missed the draw at Norwich in midweek due to back, knee and hamstring injuries respectively. All the other squad members are fit and available for selection.

The visitors will arrive at Westwood Road looking to start their campaign with a positive result. The Tangerines finished in a credible 10th position last season, and rounded it off with victory over Wealdstone to claim the Middlesex Charity Cup.

The star man for Ashford looks certain to be striker Mark Bitmead. Last season he scored 31 goals for the club, 23 of which came in the league. Like City, the core of the Ashford side has signed for another season, but manager Ben Murray has also added several other players including strikers Jabir Laraba from Kensington Borough and James Cottee from Wesfield who scored in their pre-season fixture against a Woking XI last Saturday.

So at long last the real action gets started and the ball rolls at 3:00pm tomorrow as an 8 month marathon of a league season begins. If you are not going to the game, then live updates will be available on the City twitter feed and official Facebook page throughout the afternoon. On Saturday evening there will be a full post-match report and analysis on the official website including an interview with City boss Robbie Nightingale.

Kick-off at Westwood Road is at 3:00pm.

Five facts about the visitors:

Nickname: The Tangerines
Founded: 1958
Ground Capacity: 2,550
Manager: Ben Murray
Fascinating Fact: Their ground was renamed the Robert Parker Stadium in 2010 in honour of Bob Parker, who had served as chairman for 28 years.

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