After 84 days, football finally returns to Croft Park as we take on Vanarama National League side Hartlepool United, in what should be our toughest test of pre-season. 

Entry is £8 for adults and £4 for concessions according to the clubs website. You can pay on the gate as per normal or buy tickets here – https://blythspartansafc.ktckts.com/event/bly2324pre1/blyth-spartans-v-hartlepool

No segregation in place.

Clubhouse is open from midday and catering tomorrow is being done by the clubhouse, with an assortment of pies and sandwiches from the world famous Shy’s butchers. For Pools fans making the trip up or any groundhoppers stopping by, the Masons Arms and Sports Club just down the road from the ground are canny for a pint. If you’re up for risking it, the Waterloo and the Wallaw are okay places in the town centre.

A new style match programme will be about tomorrow as well, and I’d highly recommend picking that up having had a sneak preview. Top draw stuff from new programme editor Hugh Hutton.

Croft Park debuts for Harrison Clark and Jon Shaw will very likely be lined up, as well as a return for Cousin-Dawson. Forward JJ Hooper may also be set to play some role tomorrow, if he overcomes whatever fitness issue he’s had. 

As for trialists, watch out for centre back Simon Yakub, who’s formerly of North Shields and has played for the England University side. Believe he’s originally from Hungary. As well as him, winger Gee Baltazar who scored last Saturday has performed well in both games he’s featured in. 

Former York City man Adam Reed will likely feature at some stage as well, as will former U19 Alfie Livermore. Expect a few other trialists will play some role as well, but tomorrow will likely mainly feature first teamers. Hopefully we may even have a new signing or 2 in before kick off though! 

As for Hartlepool, they’ve had a lot of incomings and outgoings this summer following relegation. In goal you’ll see former Spartan Pete Jameson, who’s just joined in a season long loan. He’ll be competing for the starting role with former Sunderland and Barrow keeper Joel Dixon who’s also joined Pools this summer. Former Boro midfielder Matty Dolan has returned to the north east as he’s linked up with John Askey’s side this summer. Scarborough centre back Kieran Burton has signed up, as have fellow defenders Emmanuel Onariase and Kieran Wallace. Forwards Chris Wreh and Emmanuel Dieseruvwe have signed up as well. 

Despite losing some key players over the summer, they’ve kept key men such as David Ferguson, Callum Cooke, Dan Dodds and main man Josh Umerah. I except they’ll still have a few trialists knocking about, including former Liverpool player Luis Longstaff.

So far Pools have only had 1 pre-season game, that being a 2-1 victory over Middlesbrough. They’ve been up in Scotland all week for a training camp, so they’ll likely be pretty sharp ahead of tomorrow’s clash.