Cards travel north for pre-season double header
8:31pm, Thu 18th Jul 2019
Woking vs Salford City and Dunston UTS
Pre-Season Friendly Double Header
Friday 19th and Saturday 20th July
Despite suffering a first defeat of their pre-season campaign, the Cards will no doubt have been encouraged once again by Tuesday’s performance against League One side Wycombe Wanderers, where a stoppage time Adebayo Akinfenwa goal condemned the hosts to a narrow 3-2 defeat.
Both of the Woking goals were scored by one of the two remaining trialists, both of whom have now featured against both Oxford United and Wycombe, whilst manager Alan Dowson also took the opportunity to hand starts to some of those who hadn’t featured from the outset during the first two games. It will be interesting to see the contrast in the two squads this weekend – with potentially some additional trialists or academy prospects taking part.
The Cards will travel first to take on newly promoted League Two side Salford City on Friday evening (kick-off is at 7:30pm), before going on to face Gateshead-based Dunston the following day, with the kick-off at the normal 3:00pm.
As promised, Dowse swapped his team around for the game against Wycombe, with captain Josh Casey, fellow defender Manny Parry, plus midfielders Godfrey Poku and Shaun Donnellan, and one of the trialists, the only players starting both on Tuesday and the previous Saturday. In came goalkeeper Sam Howes, defenders Nathan Collier and Moussa Diarra, midfielder Jack Skinner, winger Paul Hodges and a second trialist – all of the other signed players were on the bench. Kane Ferdinand was the only player to take no part in the game itself.
The Cards have been operating with a squad of 19 for the last two games with the two trialists and academy defender Joe Morrison making up the numbers. So, either, there will be some new faces this weekend or there will be at least a couple of players pulling double duty.
The Ammies, partially owned by the famous ‘Class of 92’, made up of former Manchester United players Phil Neville, Gary Neville, Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and David Beckham, are preparing for their first ever season in the Football League after consecutive promotion campaigns. In fact, the club has been promoted four times in the last five seasons, twice as champions and twice as play-off winners, as was the case last season as they defeated AFC Fylde 3-0 at Wembley.
It's a squad, managed by Graham Alexander, which is packed with talent. Players to watch include striker Adam Rooney, who netted 23 goals in all competitions last season, following his move from Scottish Premiership side Aberdeen; midfielder Danny Whitehead, who has won consecutive National League promotions, having also gone up with Macclesfield Town the previous season; and veteran defender Nathan Pond, who has made over 500 career league appearances – the majority coming in a 15 year spell with Fleetwood Town. New signings this summer include former Woking player Joey Jones, Brighton and Hove Albion midfielder Richie Towell, and England C international Dan Jones.
Salford play at the The Peninsula Stadium (Moor Lane, Salford, M7 3PZ). Ticket prices on the day are £4 for adults and £2 for concessions. Please note only the North and West stands will be open, and these can be accessed by Turnstiles B and C on Nevile Road and Moor Lane respectively.
Like both Woking and Salford, Dunston won promotion from their league last season, finishing as champions of Northern League Division One (the ninth tier of English football), which has subsequently earned them promotion to Northern Premier League Division One North West – which is two steps below the National League North and three below the Cards. They amassed an impressive 83 points from their 34 games – finishing a massive 17 points clear of their nearest challengers.
Dunston are managed by Chris Swailes who, during a lengthy playing career, featured for the likes of Doncaster Rovers, Ipswich Town, Bury, Rotherham United, Oldham Athletic and Hamilton Academical, typically as a defender. He spent three years with Dunston as a player between 2011 and 2014 before becoming the club’s manager two years later. Dunston, nicknamed The Fed, won the Northern League – League Cup under his coaching in 2018 before clinching promotion twelve months later. They were also FA Vase winners back in 2012.
The club plays at the UTS Stadium (Wellington Road, Dunston, Gateshead, Tyne & Wear, NE11 9JL). Ticket prices on the day are £4 for adults and £2 for concessions.