The countdown to the new United Counties League Premier Division campaign is now under way for Harborough Town after they returned for pre-season training this week.
Boss Nick Pollard welcomed his players back by taking them on a five-mile run last Saturday while the early preparations continued on Tuesday night in the build-up to the new season.
The Bees play their first friendly of the summer on July 15 when they take on Vanarama National League North side Nuneaton Town at Bowdens Park.
And Pollard was pleased with the turnout as his squad got together for the first time since the end of last season.
“We took the players out for a five-mile run and it was steady with a couple of hill climbs in there,” Pollard said.
“There were a few new faces and we were just easing them into it. It was a good opportunity for everyone to get to know each other during the run.
“It was a good turnout from the first team and reserve players and it was a good first chance to get everyone together.
“We will be training regularly between now and July 15 when we play Nuneaton Town in our first friendly.
“That will be the start of four games within nine
days for us and that will
give us a good chance to have a look at the players, their preferred positions and to have a look at some different formations.
“And by the time we get to that first friendly, the majority of the lads will have been through a tough training programme.”
It’s been a busy week at Bowdens Park after it was confirmed that former Leicester City manager Micky Adams had joined Harborough as part of their youth development program.
Adams, who has also been in charge at Fulham, Brighton, Sheffield United and Port Vale among others, will be looking at bringing on players in the club’s under-18 squad.
And there was also further good news for the Bees after it was confirmed they have been awarded a £6,000 Grow the Game grant.
The grant has paved the way for the club’s junior section to develop four new teams in the next two years – two girls sides, one inclusive and an adult female team.
The project will also create eight new FA qualified and FA DBS checked male and female coaches.
Grow the Game is a £2.5m programme funded by The FA and the Football Foundation.
It awards grants to grassroots football clubs that wish to create new teams, especially amongst under-represented groups.
Harborough’s development and commercial executive Marion Hayton said: “The club is overwhelmed with the support given from Football Foundation and Leicestershire FA.
“For a club as big as ours (46 teams and counting), the Grow the Game funding will allow the club to purchase the correct resources, fund FA qualifications and pay affiliation and registration fees towards each of the newly formed four teams over the next two years.
“We wouldn’t be able to provide the high standard required at the club without this initial injection of funding from the Football Foundation. We are so grateful and cannot thank the Foundation enough.”
England manager and Football Foundation ambassador Gareth Southgate added: “I am so pleased that Harborough Town FC’s youth section has secured this Grow the Game grant.
“The club has worked very hard with Leicestershire & Rutland County FA and the Football Foundation to get more local people playing football so that they can enjoy the many physical and mental benefits that come with playing regular sport.”
In the build-up to the new season, Adams will be running a series of trials at Bowdens Park.
They are open to 15 to 17-year-olds and take place on Wednesday, June 28 (7-8.30pm), Thursday, June 29 (6.30-8pm) and Wednesday, July 5 (7-8.30pm).
More information on how to apply is available at www.harboroughtown.org.