Manchester Central begin their debut season in the Manchester Football League Premier Division on Saturday against Rochdale Sacred Heart at the Manchester College Nicholls Campus (KO 15:00).
Central, who already have lifted the Terry Wood Cup this season, will be looking to carry over their inspired form from last season into the new league campaign.
Having finished second in the Division One table to earn promotion, Central also won the Murray Trophy last season – winning the final on penalties against Tintwistle Athletic.
Central won 13 of their 22 games last season and went on a lengthy unbeaten streak midway through the season.
Rochdale Sacred Heart finished 7th in the Premier Division last season, winning 10 of their 28 league games and drawing six more.
It remains to be seen how manager Paul McGuire’s players manage the step up to a higher division, but after some shrewd recruitment from the Central staff and a pre-season campaign in which the team has looked sharp it shows some real promise for the season ahead.
Central lost just once in six pre-season fixtures – including their convincing 5-0 Terry Wood Cup victory over Chadderton Reserves.
Goals, much like last season, have been a strength for McGuire’s team – having scored 35 goals in those six matches; though a 15-1 win over Wythenshawe Amateurs’ development squad did aid in the eye-catching figure.
Confidence is high in the Central camp going into the Rochdale Sacred Heart game, with the players and staff alike ready to hit the ground running in the Premier Division and have a successful debut season in a higher division.