DEREK GOULDING believes Burscough are entering the new season in good shape after their summer strengthening at Victoria Park.
The Linnets begin their Evo-Stik League First Division North campaign this weekend, travelling to New Mills on Saturday. Goulding’s men finished 11th in last season’s table, after a season of consolidation at L40.
They are, however, hopeful of building on that this season, and their pre-season work has been solid.
Striker Mark Beesley has returned to the club after unsuccessful spells at Hednesford Town and Warrington Town, and has been joined by fellow new recruits Alan Collins, Mark Byrne, Luke Robinson and John Connolly, who joins from Formby.
“We have had a decent pre-season,” said Goulding.
“We managed to keep the majority of the squad from last season together, which means there should be a continuity and an understanding there already.
“And we have added a few players to the squad, so the group should have a bit more depth and a bit more quality.”
Beesley left Burscough when in fine form some 18 months ago, but struggled to kick-on at Hednesford, and then at Warrington.
“If he can reproduce the kind of form he showed here last time, we will be very happy,” Goulding said.
“The moves he made did not really work out for him, but hopefully this will spark him back to life.
“He brings with him experience and quality, and we are glad to have him back among the squad.”
Goulding is anticipating a tough examination against a New Mills side beaten in the play-offs after a third-placed finish last season, and with Northwich Victoria to follow three days later at Victoria Park, the Linnets boss is aware his side are in for a testing start.
“New Mills will have a lot of momentum,” he said.
“They carried it over last season after promotion, and they came very close to going up again.
“Northwich too progressed in the South Division last year, and will be looking to make an impact here.
“We will have to be on our game to match these sides.”
He added: “I think the first 10 games will be a good gauge of how we are doing.
“Everyone is jockeying for position and trying to lay down a marker.
“We just want to get off to the best possible start.”
Saturday: New Mills v Burscough (3pm); Tuesday: Burscough v Northwich Victoria (7.45pm).