Cards ready for the off
6:44am, Thu 8th Aug 2013
Woking v Lincoln City
3pm on Saturday 10 August 2013
Weâ€™re off at last! The Cards have been handed a very interesting home game for their first match of the season, so come on down to Kingfield and cheer on Garry Hillâ€™s side! Lincoln City have had a couple of disappointing years in the Conference but are fancied by many to do considerably better this time round, so this should be a testing first day for the Cards, who will be keen to make home advantage pay and to get off to a flying start.
Woking fans approached last season with a modicum of anxiety since, in spite of our huge confidence in Garry Hill and Steve Thompson, we all knew that it was a big jump from the Conference South to the Conference Premier. There were one or two â€˜lessonsâ€™ (as Garry likes to call them) on the way but it proved to be a very successful return to the top tier as the Cards finished in 12th place, playing some wonderfully attractive football on the way. This season Garry and Steve seem quietly optimistic about our chances of doing at least as well as last season and possibly even better. It must be a big help to have been able to retain most of last seasonâ€™s squad, with the defence (especially) and the midfield likely to have a very familiar look about them. Inevitably, we have lost the outstanding talent of Billy Knott from midfield but the additions of the hugely-experienced Gavin Williams and Josh Payne will surely mean that we start this season with a stronger engine room than we had when we set off to Wrexham last August.
What none of us really knows at present is how potent we will be up front. As the pre-season friendlies have shown, we shouldnâ€™t under-estimate the threat coming from a midfield containing the likes of Kevin Betsy, Lee Sawyer and Gavin Williams. But we relied heavily towards the end of last season on goals from on-loan Jayden Stockley and Garry has made no secret of the fact that heâ€™d like, if possible, to have a big target man up front to call on. Weâ€™ll have to wait to see if Garry signs someone before the weekend, although he has made it clear that he has no qualms about starting the season with his present squad.
The return from injury of Gez Sole is a huge bonus but, although he has looked fit and sharp in pre-season friendlies, it would be expecting too much to think that he can immediately reproduce the tremendous form he showed towards the end of the 2011-12 season. And then thereâ€™s the mercurial talent of Gavin McCallum. It looked as though he might not be with us again this season but he showed in the pre-season friendlies just what a threat he can be when he is really focused.
The Imps have flirted dangerously with relegation in their two seasons in the Conference but there is optimism among their fans that they have now turned the corner and can start to mount a real challenge to return to the League.
Gary Simpson has made sweeping changes to his squad and has benefited from being able to bring in players from relegated Stockport County and financially-troubled Macclesfield, a club Gary managed only a few seasons ago. New arrivals include full-back Sean Newton from Stockport; Danny Rowe, a striker released by Fleetwood Town but who played for Stockport and Barrow last season; midfielder Jon Nolan, another Stockport capture who came through Evertonâ€™s youth system; Bohan Dixon, a midfielder who was with Accrington Stanley last season after varied experience at non-League and amateur levels; striker Ben Tomlinson, who scored 14 goals for Alfreton last season and who was with Gary Simpson at Macclesfield; Waide Fairhurst, a very useful goalscorer from Macclesfield; striker Nick Wright, who was with Mansfield last season but who had more success in earlier spells with Kidderminster and Tamworth; Adi Yussuf, another striker, joining from Burton Albion and who came through Leicester Cityâ€™s youth system; and central defender Luke Foster, returning to the Club after spells at Oxford United, Mansfield, Stevenage, Rotherham and Preston North End.
But the Imps wonâ€™t have striker Vadaine Oliver, sold to Crewe Alexandra for an undisclosed fee.
The game will be segregated.
Over 65s and students (with valid student card) Â£10
Donâ€™t forget that season tickets, representing great value, are still available: Adults Â£245, Concessions Â£145, U16 Â£45, Disabled Â£112.
BOOST THE BUDGET
The Cards Trust will be hoping to encourage more supporters to join its very successful Boost the Budget scheme. Even if you canâ€™t make a regular donation, please put some money in the collection bucket. You know that Garry will spend it wisely.
Donâ€™t miss out on the Clubâ€™s excellent matchday programme! Find out the latest news from the fansâ€™ forum and read Glen Harringtonâ€™s thoughts on the new season as he surveys what all the Conference Premier clubs have been up to this summer. If you canâ€™t get to the game, you can order a copy from the Club Shop on firstname.lastname@example.org
Last December the Cards recovered superbly from their astonishing 7-0 weekend mauling at Hyde United to register a 2-0 win at Sincil Bank the following Tuesday, with a 5th minute penalty coming from Kevin Betsy and another goal midway through the second half from Bradley Bubb. The return game in March produced a 1-1 draw. The Cards again went quickly in front, with a header from Brett Johnson after only a minute, but Vadaine Oliver equalised for Lincoln in the 25th minute, out-jumping the Woking defence.
The Cards travel to Braintree on Tuesday evening (13 August) and then to resurgent Chester the following Saturday (17 August). Their next home game is on Saturday 24 August when they take on old rivals Welling United.
Come on, you Cards!