The BetVictor Northern Premier League fixtures were released this evening meaning that the build-up to the new campaign can well and truly begin.

Andrew Snaith caught up with four Blues stars to get their thoughts on the opening few games of the season, starting off with the visit of Witton Albion to the Turnbull Ground.

Alex White said: “We’re happy to be at home for the first game of the season. It’s always a good way to start, albeit against a tough side in Witton Albion.”

Meanwhile, Shane Bland believes that the home advantage could help the Seasiders on the opening day.

He said: “It’s a tough opener to our campaign. With Witton Albion it’s always a good game to play against a decent side, but advantage is with us being at home and hopefully with a bumper crowd we can get off to a good start. Looking at the league itself you can’t deny that it’s going to be one of the toughest up to date.”

The next player to react to the fixture release was midfielder, Adam Gell who like Shane Bland, hopes that a home start can be the catalyst for a strong opening to the campaign.

Gell stated: “I am happy that we have a home game first. It gives us an opportunity to impress more of our supporters and build a good following, particularly as we go into the game against Scarborough, albeit the Whitby fans will be up for that regardless as they have already proved. Gainsborough and Grantham away are both tough places to go so there is no room for a slow start. We must be firing before we go into the competitive games.”

Finally, we hear from the captain. Dale Hopson believes that Whitby do indeed have a difficult opening to the new campaign meaning that consistency is key.

Hopson noted: “It looks like a tough start for us with a lot of strong opponents in the first few games with Morpeth, Scarborough and FC United all in there but if we can get some consistency in performances then hopefully we can pick up some points in these games.

“It’s always nice to look around Christmas and New Year and I’ll be looking forward to playing at the Turnbull on Boxing Day against South Shields. Hopefully we can fill the stadium up with fans and have a positive result on the pitch.

“Overall I think that starting with a home game for your first game of the season is always exciting. To get the season off and running in front of your home fans gives you a little bit of an advantage. Playing against teams like Morpeth, South Shields, Scarborough and FC United is something myself and the lads will be looking forward to so we can be testing ourselves against good opposition.”