Golcar United and Emley AFC will go head-to-head this season in the Northern Counties East League Premier Division.
Both sides now know their full fixture list and there is anticipation as the countdown continues to the big kick off.
The friendly rivals will collide for the first time on Tuesday August 16 (7.45) at Emley’s Fantastic Media Welfare Ground. The return is on December 17 for a pre-Christmas dust up.
It is the first time Golcar have played at this level and joint boss Gav Connor believes they can learn from Emley’s journey in the same league last season when they too were promoted.
Gav said: “We are going into the unknown really but we are under no illusions on how tough it’s going to be. However, on the flip side, it’s really exciting for all of us as staff and players to step up to the challenge.
“If you look at the month of August that gives you a good indication of how hard this league is. First up we have Thackley away who are a good side then we have Handsworth at home and although we beat them in the cup last year we know what a good side they are.
“Then we have two derbies in a row away at Penistone Church and Emley which could be feisty. We end the month playing Hallam away, a team who know what it takes to play at this level. So the start to the season couldn’t be much tougher. We just need to try and find our feet as quickly as possible.
“Emley found the going tough at the beginning of last season but then finished strong. Our aim will be to stay up and then build on it like Emley will be looking to do this year.”
Golcar club secretary Ben Senior added his voice to the excitement and anticipation of seeing the full fixture list. He also had news and an update for Golcar fans on the season ticket extension and matchday pricing.
Ben said: “We are really looking forward to the big kick off now and want to face the challenge head on. It is going to be a journey for all of us but one where we need to stick together come what may.
“Last season we saw terrific backing from our supporters and that has been reflected behind the scenes with a steady stream of season tickets being snapped up.
“We as a club have decided to extend the early bird offer right up until the week before the big kick off on July 30 away at Thackley. We urge supporters to grab a season ticket and come and join us on our journey.
“We have decided to increase matchday prices to £6 for adults and £4 for concessions. This is in line with the rest of the league. We have dropped our junior price to just £2 though.”
As for the Pewits they kick off their campaign with an away trip to North Ferriby, 3pm kick off. Their first home match is against Thackley on August 9 and two days after Christmas they will play Penistone Church. Their first game of 2023 is a home match against Albion Sports and they round off the season at home to Barton Town.
On their fixtures chairman Andrew Painten said: “When you start looking through the fixture list, it hammers home what a tough league this is with a long list of strong contenders. They not only include those who were up there last season but also clubs that are coming into the league through promotion or relegation.
“I think it will be another season where anyone can beat anyone on their day and we’ll have to be at our best from the first kick of the first game.”
Head coach Richard Tracey added: “The league is as strong as last year if not stronger. We will be hoping to get off to a better start this time around and really build on what we achieved last year.
“We feel we have a good squad to compete at this level and improve on our finishing position last year. It’s a long, hard season but everyone at Emley is once again ready for the challenge.”