The toughest of starts lays ahead for Selston at Long Eaton United
Selston face the toughest of starts to their United Counties Premier Division North season on Tuesday with a trip to a Long Eaton United side that are expected to challenge for the title.
The Blues under manager Ian Deakin, were flying in their league last season and unbeaten at the time it was halted prematurely by the pandemic.
“They don't get much tougher than that. I suspect Long Eaton will be up there,” said manager Karl Steed.
“I know their staff - they are all good lads there and know what they're talking about.
“They have a good, settled squad so they will be strong, They know each other's games.
“We are looking forward to it but we know we'll have to be at our best and have a bit of luck to get anything out of it.
“If we don't we have to learn from it and kick on again. If we do then brilliant as I don't think many teams will go there and turn them over.”
He added: “Over the first month we will weigh up one or two teams. We've seen some games over pre-season.
“We know no one is going to roll over and die and we know we'll have to be at our best every game.”
The Covid 'Pingdemic' has severely hampered Selston's pre-season.
“Preparations have been up and down,” said Steed.
“We have only played two friendlies as we have had quite a few lads having to isolate and one thing and another.
"I don't think we've had a full squad available yet.
“We have also had work, injuries and unavailability. It's not been ideal. We need more minutes in the tank really.”
There has been movement in the squad over the summer.
“From the Sherwood tournament we have managed to keep the majority of the players and added a couple more, but also lost a couple,” he said.
“We can't compete with the wages some folk are offering.
“If lads have a mediocre job it's hard to turn down. It's a good wage for them if they can get something extra.
“It is unfortunate but it what it is. It's going to be a tough season for us with the level of teams – we have no doubts about that.
“We have had a couple of hits at it for two seasons now but halted by Covid.
“We know we have to be fitter. We know what to expect and it's just planning for it and being good enough to compete.”
Steed is particularly looking forward to the return of big local derbies.
“It will be great to play Eastwood and Heanor in derby games,” he said.
“We should get a good gate through the turnstiles.
"It's what everyone wants and it's nice to have them back playing us.
“There will be bragging rights at stake which will be nice. Derbies give you an extra buzz to get something out of it.
“Hopefully we can move them to a Friday night which should be even better for gates and receipts.”
Selston end their friendlies with a trip to Keyworth on Friday on their new 4G surface.
As the Advertiser went to press they were hoping to find a replacement team for a Wednesday night friendly too after their scheduled opposition pulled out.