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CITY of Liverpool FC begin their 2020-21 league campaign tomorrow against Marske United, as Craig Robinson’s side aim to take their encouraging pre-season performances into competitive games.
It’s the first of two home matches in quick succession for the club, who also take on Morpeth Town in the FA Cup on Tuesday evening as football tries in earnest to bring a semblance of normality to abnormal times.
A recent friendly against Market Drayton Town paved the way for the return of fans to COLFC matches, with the maximum permitted 200 supporters in attendance to witness a 3-0 win.
This means the club can move on to stage two of the FA’s guidance around the return of spectators to non-League football, with up to 400 fans now allowed in for this weekend’s game.
Guidelines remain in place to ensure the safety of all involved on matchday, from players and officials to supporters.
The club have produced and circulated their own clear visual guidance to help people adhere to these guidelines for their own safety.
All 400 tickets are expected to be sold for the game as excitement builds around an impressive-looking squad for the upcoming campaign.
Last season was the club’s first in the Northern Premier League Division One North West, coming off the back of their title win and promotion from the North West Counties Football League in 2019.
Though the 2019-20 non-League season was eventually cancelled, the games played in the first half of the season, and into 2020, gave COLFC an idea of what is required in order to be successful at this testing and challenging level of the English football pyramid.
On the back of this, Robinson has assembled a squad for the new season that includes no fewer than seven new signings.
Striker Craig Cairns returned to the club following a spell at Runcorn Town, having been part of the COLFC side which won the NWCFL Premier Division in 2019.
He is joined by Tony Gray, an experienced forward who arrives from Warrington Town and has played at the highest level of non-League, as well as in the Europa League during his time at Welsh side Airbus UK Broughton.
Fullbacks James Yates and Louis Corrigan join from Witton Albion and Runcorn Linnets respectively, while there’s another recruit from Robinson’s old club Warrington Town in the shape of winger Dominic Reid, who has recovered from an injury picked up prior to the start of last season.
Versatile defender or midfielder Jordan Barrow joins from Flint Town, and the seven new signings are rounded off with midfielder Nathan Burke who arrives from FC United of Manchester after impressing on trial in the game against Market Drayton.
These new faces, plus one returning, join an already promising core of players who have stayed on for the new season.
These include captain and centreback James McCarten, exciting attacking midfielder Jack Hazlehurst, former Liverpool youth goalkeeper Owen Wheeler, midfielders Kevin McEllin and Gerard Kinsella, striker Elliott Nevitt and fullback Stephen Rigby who can play on the left or the right side.
The Purps have already played their first competitive game of the season — a 3-0 win against Glossop North End in the FA Cup preliminary round.
Nevitt opened the scoring and impressed throughout, before goals from Kinsella and Hazlehurst finished the job in the second half.
With two home games in the space of three days in front of fans, it feels as if football is beginning to return to a point where fans can once again enjoy it alongside the players, and there is plenty of excitement and anticipation ahead of this new season for the supporter-owned club.
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