On Saturday 4th August, Stockport Town travel to near neighbours Cheadle Heath Nomads for the first league game of the 2018/19 season.
Regardless of the outcome, the fixture will go down in history by representing a number of “firsts”.
The game will be the first competitive fixture between the two sides, with Cheadle Heath Nomads making their first ever appearance in the North West Counties following promotion from the Cheshire League.
Saturday’s match also represents Alan Lord’s first competitive match as head of the management team.
After an overhaul of the playing squad during the close season there will be a number of debutants for the Lions, with Kiarno Samms and Matt Hanson the only likely players involved from last season’s squad.
A number of the last season’s successful U21s squad may also feature. Players like Reece Skelton and Adam Simpson will be looking to get more game time this year, whilst Kieran O’Connell, Liam Mottram, Luke Newsham and Connor Bass will be looking to make their competitive debuts.
There will be some familiar faces in the Nomads line-up, most notably midfielder Tom Bane who spent a season and a half at Lambeth Grove.
Pre-season is always a difficult time to judge form with teams chopping and changing, whilst players look to gain a decent level of fitness for the long road ahead. Both teams do have one summer opponent in common; Denton Town. Cheadle Heath won a closely contested match 2–1, whilst the Lions were comprehensive 6-2 winners.
At this moment in time it is almost impossible to judge how both teams are likely to perform in the league in 2018/19.
By 5pm on Saturday we’ll have a better idea of who may be up at the top challenging, and who may need to make a few more recruitments to get them up to the level.