United’s promising pre-season preparations

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After starting their pre-season training on June 18 and having already taken part in three challenging friendlies the United’s pre-season preparations are well underway as they attempt to defend their Lincolnshire League crown.

Manager Mark Hallam said: “Our first priority has been to get all of last seasons championship winning squad signed so that we can build on the incredible season we had last year. Players like Kurt Crossley, Ryan O’Loughlin and Luke Rayner-Mistry (pictured) were obviously going to be highly sort after due to their goal scoring exploits last year, so getting them signed within the first few weeks of pre-season has been a huge boost and just shows the great commitment they have to this great football club.

With the rest of the squad already committed and the addition of experienced midfielder Adam Broom and exciting left back Nathan Whetton things are looking very promising and the morale in the camp is exceptional.”

In their first pre-season match against Brodsworth Miners Welfare from the Central Midland League, the United put in an excellent performance in sweltering conditions and came out 2-0 winners after the long trip to the Doncaster based side after goals from Michael Howard and Tom Pickett.

In their second match a mixture of 1st Team and Reserve players travelled across to Mablethorpe Athletic and emphatically won 5-1 with goals from Michael Howard (3), Luke Rayner-Mistry and Tom Pickett.

Last Tuesday the Champions travelled to Scunthorpe to play Bottesford Town from the Northern Counties East League but unavailability had a huge bearing on the outcome. With none of the usual back 4 available due to work commitments they were forced to play a makeshift backline, but after conceding 2 early goals the United settled down and played some exquisite football and had their higher league opponents chasing shadows for the remainder of the game. Ryan O’Loughlin scored another sublime free-kick to reduce the deficit before the home side scored in the final minute to wrap things up as tiredness began to play its part.

Assistant Manager Jason Smith said: “Our performances in the games thus far have been extremely good, especially considering the hot conditions. Despite getting beaten 3-1 at Bottesford there were so many positives to take from the game after the quality we produced and with our usual back four, I have no doubt the result would have been different.”

With the August fixtures having just been announced, the United will start their title defence with a tough away trip to Hykeham Town on Saturday August 17, followed by the visit of a resurgent Horncastle Town to Wainfleet Road on Tuesday 20.

Heckington United are the visitors to the seaside on Saturday 27 followed by Louth Town Reserves on Tuesday 27.

The final fixture in August see’s last years runner’s-up Gainsborough Town visit the Champions on Saturday 31 which will undoubtedly be an enthralling encounter if last years battles are anything to go by.

The United will again be hoping the people of Skegness will continue to get behind them in large numbers in the new season.