Heanor ready for big kick-off

Five more players have put pen to paper and signed for Heanor Town ahead of this Saturday’s opening East Midlands Counties League game at Radford (3pm).

Lee Askham, Lee Naughton and Graham Wells bring the total of retained players to 12, whilst former Matlock Town front man Darren Cartwright and central defender Nicolantonio (Nick) Degirolamo, who counts Staveley MW amongst his previous clubs, brings the new men into the squad to four.

Joint Manager Glenn Kirkwood has been chasing central defender Degirolamo for most of the closed season and finally landed him following at last Wednesday’s pre-season game at Carlton Town which the Lions lost 2-0 to the strong home Northern Premier League side.

Heanor supporters will remember Rob Gill, who starred for the club in just one game last season before retiring. That was on November 20 last in the Lions 9-0 home romp over Anstey Nomads.

Gill was courted strongly by Carlton and scored both the goals against the Lions last week.

The team’s last pre-season game took place last Tuesday night when they visited the new Central Midlands (North) side Glapwell.

Despite the pre -eason friendly results there is a good team spirit about the players and a determination to succeed by all concerned from management down.

Supporters can certainly look forward to a continuation of the entertainment which joint managers Kirkwood and Hopkins brought to the club in each of their previous two seasons.

But at the same time it would be folly to expect the team to continue with their phenomenal goalscoring record which has seen them score 218 league goals in the last two campaigns.

Those who have followed East Midlands Counties League football over the four years since the competition started will have witnessed a continual improvement all round, in teams, management and stadia.

These improvements will make the title and with it the hoped-for promotion even more difficult to obtain this season but the entertainment will continue to be the forefront of the playing side.

And there is further good news for supporters in as much as admission prices have been pegged at last season’s prices. Admission to East Midlands Counties League games will be £5 for adults and £3 for concessions, with a £2 charge which includes the cost of a match programme for Reserve team games.

Season tickets, representing a considerable saving are also available at the same prices as last season of £80 adults and £50 concessions.

The FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round tie away to Radcliffe Olympic will take place on Saturday 20th August, and because the Town Ground is still required for cricket, Radcliffe have kindly agreed to stage any replay necessary at their ground the following Wednesday.

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The Central Midlands League season starts on Saturday as well, but Heanor Town Reserves have not been allocated a fixture. They will begin their fixtures away to Mickleover Sports Reserves on Saturday, August 20.

There are no midweek games this week for either of the Lions sides, but the first team will travel to Barrow Town on Tuesday, August 23, for a league game, subject to no FA Cup replay being required.