Blues boss ready for much improved Evo-Stik season

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PETER Rinkcavage believes his Frickley Athletic side are ready for a much-improved season in the Evo-Stik Premier League, which kicks-off this weekend.

The Blues host Burscough at the Tech5 Stadium in their season opener on Saturday (kick-off 3pm) and the Frickley boss insists the strength in depth of his new-look squad will help them avoid a repeat of last season’s relegation battle.

Rinkcavage has welcomed a host of new faces to South Elmsall and is confident his men can enjoy better fortunes on the pitch this term, despite describing the competition as one of the toughest in recent years.

“I’m really pleased with where we’re at,” he said.

“We’ve won six of our eight friendly games and it should have really been seven so we’ve been performing well.

“We’ve got a good squad and plenty of strength in depth so we’re not looking to be fighting relegation this season, we’re looking for a more solid season.

“The league looks like the hardest it’s been for a while with teams like Hednesford coming in and the likes of Bradford (Park Avenue), FC United of Manchester and Chester competing.

“But we’re going in to win every game. More so to put in a good performance every game and with a good performance the results should come.”

The Blues have home advantage for their first game of the campaign but Rinkcavage is well aware of Burscough’s qualities after they pushed Blue Square Bet North side Vauxhall Motors all the way before losing 2-1 at the weekend.

Defender Michael Simpkins will be unavailable for selection due to a “long-standing engagement” on Saturday and the Blues will give late fitness tests to Lincoln Adams, Dean Jones and Ollie Ryan, who are all carrying knocks.

Recent additions Lee Bennett and Kelvin Bleau may also have to wait for their Blues debuts while they await international clearance following moves to South Elmsall from Sweden.

Leon Henry has returned from serious injury this summer with some impressive performances but the Blues boss has revealed he’s not yet returned to 100 per cent fitness.

But despite the potential absentees for the season opener, Rinkcavage admits he had a welcome selection headache ahead of the game.

“We have a lot of experience in the squad this season but a lot of the younger players such as Brad Grayson and Jack Watts have impressed me this summer,” he said.

“I’ve had a selection headache for Saturday, it’s a nice thing to have, because we have some strength in depth with the squad this season.”

See this week’s Hemsworth and South Elmsall Express for all the latest sports news from around the district.