Harborough to get the nation’s season going

The new football season kicks off in Market Harborough tomorrow night.

The United Counties League Premier Division fixture between Harborough Town and Yaxley at Bowdens Park (7.45pm) is the first match in the National League System in England in the 2015-2016 season.

The Bees are hoping for a bumper crowd for the ‘Ground Hop’ fixture and joint boss Nick Pollard says it is “an honour” to kick off the new campaign.

Pollard, who is sharing managerial duties at Bowdens Park with Chris Church, has reasons to be optimistic as the Bees head into their fourth successive season at Step Five.

He has kept together the squad that took 16 points from the final 10 games of last season, added the likes of Kev Byrne and Dino Tuksar up front and during pre-season the Bees have lost just one of their five games and netted 13 goals.

Last weekend, they wiped out a 2-0 deficit against Ellistown and Ibstock to grab a 2-2 draw through goals from Billy Shepherd – his third of the pre-season campaign – and Jordan Crawford.

Pollard reports he only had 12 players available for the match and for the last 30 minutes, the Bees had only 10 players on the pitch after picking up an injury.

They still went on to grind out a draw and Pollard said: “I’m more than pleased with the way things are shaping up.

“I’m really impressed with the lads’ fitness and at this level, fit, hard-working teams who force teams into making mistakes can do well.

“We are playing at a pace that teams are struggling to cope with.”

Yaxley finished fourth last season and are considered one of the favourites for the title.

But under new boss Ian Benjamin, the ex-Northampton and Peterborough striker, they’ve had a tough build up to the new campaign.

Last weekend, the Cuckoos were thumped 7-0 at Peterborough Sports, but Pollard says he “doesn’t read too much into pre-season results”.