Gateshead begin this season’s schedule with a familiar fixture as Hebburn play host on Tuesday, July 4 (7:30pm).
The Heed returned to training last week ahead of a second consecutive season in the Vanarama National League, with new arrivals joining familiar faces at Gateshead International Stadium.
Summer signings Aidan Rutledge, Jordan Hunter and Regan Booty could all feature for the first time at the Hebburn Sports Ground, while Callum Whelan and Ed Francis could appear as permanent Gateshead players for the first time.
The fixture is the first of six pre-season tests for Mike Williamson’s side, who also face Sunderland in the first scheduled home game this Saturday.
Hebburn began their pre-season campaign last weekend with a trip to Scotland, where they defeated Scottish League Two side Dumbarton 3-2.
The Hornets ended their first season in the Northern Premier League East by finishing third and securing a place in the play-off semi finals, though they would exit on penalties to eventual winners Long Eaton United.
Gateshead are set to wear a temporary pre-season kit from club partners Patrick at Hebburn, with this season’s all-new home and away kits to be unveiled soon.
“The objective is to narrow down our principles and our concepts – if we’re executing those the way we want to then the fitness will come,” said player-manager, Mike Williamson.
“We’ve got to increase and maximise their aerobic and anaerobic capacities, but it’s about making sure the first game of the season is the most important and everybody is well-versed.”
“We’re looking good going into it,” said Hebburn boss Daniel Moore.
“Gateshead will be a bit further along in their pre-season schedule, and it’ll be tough to deal with because they play some fantastic football.
“We did really well on Saturday so we’re looking forward to testing ourselves – we won’t have much of the ball but when we do have it, we need to be brave like we were against Dumbarton.
“It’s about learning different parts of the game in pre-season and playing Gateshead, we’ll have to close the space down quickly and communicate well.”
Two entirely different sides are expected to play each half, with a mixture of trialists and first team regulars to be involved.
Tickets will be sold on the gate at the Hebburn Sports Ground (cash or card accepted), with admission priced at:
Concession (Over 65s, Students (16-18)): £5
Gateshead got off to a winning start to pre-season with a 1-0 victory at Hebburn Town.
Two entirely different sides played 45 minutes each at Hebburn Sports Ground, with both new signings and familiar faces turning out together for the first time.
Jordan Hunter was the one new arrival to start at Hebburn, while Ed Francis appeared for the first time since joining the club permanently.
Perhaps in typical pre-season fashion, there were few clear cut chances in the opening 45 minutes, though Gateshead argued their case for being the stronger of the two sides.
Francis and Stephen Wearne both saw half chances pass by, while at the other end Rob Elliot was almost caught in possession by a Hebburn man, though the slight scare would come to nothing.
Greg Olley registered the game’s first meaningful strike with 24 minutes gone, drilling a low shot against the near post and out for a goal kick.
Hebburn replied by hitting the crossbar only moments later through James Harrison, whose curling shot from 20 yards proved a touch too high.
Those two efforts would be the closest both sides would come to breaking the deadlock for the remainder of the first half, with a range of shots saved and blocked fairly comfortably at both ends before the half time whistle.
A fresh 11 for Gateshead almost created an opener within one minute of the restart when Adam Campbell raced onto Callum Whelan’s ball in behind, but the forward’s low strike rolled just wide of the far post.
The opener would arrive with 57 minutes on the clock though, with one of two outfield trialists on hand to volley Kenton Richardson’s cross home at the back post after he had been teed up by Tom Allan.
Olly Martin tested The Heed’s trialist goalkeeper from close range not long afterwards, while at the other end Oli Thompson was thwarted one-on-one by Shaun Newbrook.
Former Gateshead defender Tom Devitt then saw an effort from a corner hooked off the line in a crowded box, and Newbrook was on hand again to parry Allan’s 25-yard free kick wide at his far post.
Despite chances at both ends however, the opener would remain the only goal as Gateshead got off to a winning start in pre-season.
First Half XI: Elliot, Tinkler, Magnay, Trialist, Pani, Hunter, Hasani, Francis, Olley, Wearne, Dinanga.
Second Half XI: Trialist, Richardson, Storey, Trialist, Allan, Thompson, Whelan, Booty, Trialist, Campbell, Rutledge.
Goals: Trialist (57’)