Redcar Athletic welcome newly promoted Birtley Town to Green Lane in their 2023/24 Northern League opener.

Important Matchday Information: Click here to read

After a three month absence, the Ebac Northern League is back, and the Steelmen are raring to go once more.

 

Fans at Green Lane for Tuesday night’s pre-season encounter with Hartlepool United. (Photo: Trevor Wilkinson)

Its a clash that’s a whole month in the making, with five pre-season friendlies, and an extensive training camp preparing Gary Forster and his squad for this 90 minutes.

For today’s visitors, Birtley Town, its also a historical affair, as it marks their first foray into step five football, following their Division Two play-off victory last season.

Redcar boss Gary Forster congratulated the Hoops on their promotion, whilst he admitted they would prove a tough opponent for the opening day.

“Birtley are a very good side,” the gaffer said, “they know how to win games with guile and expertise, from their playing side to their coaches.

“(Division Two) was a very tough league to get out of, and they did tremendously well to clinch their promotion.”

On the ambitions of his own roster, the first team coach said: “Let’s hope we make the right start today, and make sure we’re amongst those at the top come the end of the season.”

Here’s the lowdown on our curtain-raiser, from an overview on the Hoops, to the Steelmen’s team news.

WHO ARE YA?

A club whose Northern League roots can be traced right back to the start, this afternoon’s contest is one of great importance for Birtley.

The Hoops featured in the league’s very first season in 1889, facing Elswick Rangers in the inaugural match, which they won 4-1.

The club visiting Green Lane this afternoon reformed in 1993, earning a place in the Wearside League, in Division Two.

Birtley slowly climbed the footballing ladder, sealing their spot in the Northern League in 2018, following important work on their ground to make their ambitions a possibility.

This afternoon will be the first time in their history they have featured in step five, after beating Billingham Town on penalties in last season’s play-off final.

The club also made headlines for their potent forward line, spearheaded by striker Aiden Routledge, whose departure to National League football was confirmed during the summer.

OPENING DAY: 2022

Redcar Athletic beat West Allotment Celtic on the opening day of the 2022/23 season. (Photo: Peter Milburn)

Redcar Athletic’s previous curtain-raiser was also staged at Green Lane, as a brace from Isaac Walker fired ex-boss Steve Connolly’s side to a 3-2 victory.

The Steelmen conjured an early three-goal flurry to stun West Allotment Celtic, whose late fightback proved too little too late to change the outcome.

Former captain Michael Woodhouse notched Redcar’s third goal on the afternoon, striking from range to net the pick of the bunch, and ultimately the decider.

TEAM NEWS

Gary Forster begins the season with almost a clean bill of health, with only a few major absences to be expected.

Besides fan-favourite forward Donny Holdsworth, who is a long-term injury, only Joe Ferguson and Oscar Fletcher are likely to be unavailable.

Young midfielder, Fletcher, left the field with a limp against his former club, Hartlepool, on Tuesday night, and his injury is expected to rule him out of this afternoon’s encounter.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Spectators attending today’s fixture may wish to read our matchday information package, confirming details around admission, and what’s on at Green Lane.

Please visit the link at the top of this page, or simply click here.

REDCAR ATHLETIC MEMBERSHIP

Become a member of Redcar Athletic Football Club, and book your place at Green Lane for the 2023/24 season.

Membership is still available, and don’t forget, you’ll be supporting your club, and your local community.

Find out more: Redcar Athletic Membership

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