Hebburn Town expecting a 'severe test' in their next pre-season friendly
Hebburn Town will be provided with a “severe test” in their pre-season friendly against Northern League Division Two club West Allotment Celtic on Saturday.
That was the verdict of Hornets manager Kevin Bolam as he prepares his players to face an Allotment side that were on the verge of securing promotion into the league’s top tier last season.
With four promotion places on offer, Jay Bates’ side were sat at the top of the Division Two with a 15-point gap to fifth-placed Heaton Stannington when the coronavirus epidemic brought a premature end to the season.
The move was especially cruel on Allotment after they plundered their way to a century of goals in just 28 league fixtures as they looked to have secured a return to Division One after a three-year absence.
Despite rumours that a number of players were attracting the interest of Division One clubs, Bates has held on to the vast majority of his players and Bolam believes they will be a serious threat once again this season.
He told The Gazette: “We had to juggle our pre-season around because a few clubs further up the pyramid were advised not to play any friendly fixtures just yet.
“But we were absolutely delighted to get West Allotment in because they are exactly the sort of side that we want to face.
“They had a great season last year and I think everyone thought they would be in Division One this season.
“They play good football; they have players that I think could do it at a higher level and they like to really go at teams.
“They’ll be up there again next season and they will be a severe test for us on Saturday – and it’s one that we will have to be ready to take on.”
Saturday’s game will be played behind closed doors in line with government and FA guidance on pre-season fixtures.
Under current guidance, fixtures cannot be played in front of supporters until October 1.