IT’S the opening weekend for Atherton Colls while Daisy Hill are in FA Vase action.

Below we preview the best of the non-league action to come with Bury AFC also set for another major milestone.  


The Bolton News: Colls boss Brad Cooke, rightColls boss Brad Cooke, right

BRAD Cooke is pleased to see his Atherton Colls side is looking the part despite a fragmented pre-season.

Colls kick-off in the Northern Premier League Premier Division tomorrow against Scarborough Athletic, just over a fortnight after much of the club was put into self-isolation after a coronavirus scare.

They bounced back to win their final friendly against Chorley in midweek with a Jordan Darr goal 10 minutes from the end, leaving manager Cooke hopeful on the eve of the new campaign.

“I think we needed the performance as much as the result,” he said.

“Everyone knows we have had a two-week spell where we have not been able to do anything.

“Defensively we were really good, the way we kept the ball we were really good. We moved the ball quickly.

“We have been working on specific things with our front men and though we only scored the one goal our build-up play all came to fruition.

“Thankfully we got the goal we deserved and we head into Saturday now with a win under our belts.”

Darren Kelly’s Scarborough, formed by fans in 2007 after the demise of the former Football League club, boast one of the division’s biggest followings and budgets.

They have within their ranks ex-England C midfielder Neal Bishop, who had spells with the likes of Blackpool, York City and Notts County, and ex-Grimsby Town striker Michael Coulson.

“Scarborough are going to be one of the favourites to win the league,” Cooke predicted.

“It’s a brilliant start to the season for us but we’ll be prepared and ready.”


The Bolton News: Brian HartBrian Hart

Daisy Hill are in competitive action for the second time this season tomorrow when they host Warrington Rylands 1906 in the FA Vase first qualifying round.

The visitors will present a tough challenge for Brian’s Hart’s men, as they were champions of the North West Counties League First Division South in 2018-19 and continued their good form in the Premier Division last season.

When the 2019/20 season was ended due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Warrington side were second in the table and in with a realistic chance of a second successive promotion.

But at the start of the month, Daisy gave a good account of themselves in their opening game of the season, an FA Cup defeat against Northern Premier League opponents in Colne from two divisions above.

“I was pleased with the performance against Colne, I thought we played well, and I was more than happy with the way we approached the game and went about our business,” said boss Hart.

“They are an experienced side, but we acquitted ourselves well.

“I said to the lads after the game that the level they played at was the sort of level I’d like to see week in, week out in our division, with the same application, and the same positive attitude.

“We know it’s going to hard against a top end Premier Division team, but we need to make sure we compete and put in a performance that we can build on.”


The Bolton News: Action from Atherton LR's win over Walshaw Sports. Picture: James Lobley Action from Atherton LR's win over Walshaw Sports. Picture: James Lobley

ATHERTON LR boss Mark Robinson says his team’s preparations for the new season will step up a gear next week after a comfortable 4-0 friendly win against Walshaw Sports.

With a little over a fortnight remaining until the kick-off at Crilly Park against Nelson, Robinson says he is still in the hunt to improve his squad.

Like so many non-league sides this summer, Rovers saw a friendly pencilled in for next Tuesday cancelled this week and sent out an SOS to North West Counties League clubs to help fill the fixture.

A replacement has not yet been confirmed – but Robinson is content that his players are in good condition to start the season.

“It has been a long time coming,” he said.

“I still think we’re a little short but hopefully that will be resolved in the next week or so.

“Hopefully we’re playing again next Tuesday and then we will be thinking towards that start to the season.”

Before last season was ended prematurely, Rovers were placed 17th in the North West Counties League First Division North having scored a divisional-low 36 goals from their 29 games.

It has pleased Robinson that his attackers are looking more goal hungry this summer.

“One of the big frustrations from last year was that we created lots of chances but didn’t put them away but there we have scored some good goals – and we should be scoring more,” he said.


The Bolton News: Bury AFC will be playing at Radcliffe's Neuven Stadium. Picture: Andy WhiteheadBury AFC will be playing at Radcliffe's Neuven Stadium. Picture: Andy Whitehead

IT will be a season of firsts for Bury AFC and they chalk off another one tomorrow when they step out for their first competitive game.

AFC travel to West Didsbury and Chorlton for their FA Vase first qualifying round tie before embarking on their inaugural North West Counties League campaign at home to Steeton two weeks later.

These are exciting times for the phoenix club but, first and foremost, manager Andy Welsh is telling fans to enjoy it, embrace it and roll with the punches.

“This won’t happen again and it is very special to be part of something right from the start,” he said.

“It is a season of firsts, whether it is that first game or that first goal but there will be setbacks and hiccups along the road and that is something we will all have to deal with.

“But the main thing is just to enjoy it, this town has football again which is vital.

“We are all, in our way, creating a bit of history at the club. So let’s enjoy the journey.”


The Bolton News: Radcliffe boss Lee Fowler Radcliffe boss Lee Fowler

Radcliffe boss Lee Fowler is ready for the nine months of hell that start tomorrow against Buxton.

Boro completed an encouraging pre-season with a 3-1 win over Chorley and now turn their attentions to their Northern Premier League Premier Division opener in Derbyshire.

Fowler said: “It’s the start of nine months of hell, that is what I would say!

“There’s ups and downs but as we said in pre-season we will not get on that emotional rollercoaster.

“We are going to go straight through league, FA Cup, FA Trophy whatever it is and win, lose, draw we just keep going all the way through and at the end of the season you are where you are.

“I don’t fear any manager, any team or any budget. All I fear is complacency from my team.”