Graham Alexander is set to test all of his new-look squad as Fleetwood Town take their pre-season preparations on to the pitch.
Town travel to Flixton on Thursday to take on Northwich Victoria – a friendly in which the Town boss hopes to get the measure of every man under his command.
Alexander told The Gazette: “The game is part of our training programme. There won’t be a rest day or any recovery time. It’s a chance for lads to prove their fitness.
“Everyone’s going to be involved. If they’re available, then hopefully they’ll get some pitch time and a chance to show what they can do.”
It will be a first opportunity for Fleetwood fans to see the club’s six summer signings in action. Town have strengthened heavily in midfield, with the addition of Steven Schumacher, Jeff Hughes, Antoni Sarcevic, Matty Blair and Stewart Murdoch,who can’t wait to get his first taste of action in a Fleetwood shirt.
Murdoch said: “I don’t think in pre-season you lead up to games like you do in the season. We’ll maybe do a bit of work Wednesday, then get into the game.
“It’s a good opportunity for us to find our feet in 11-a-side again and see how we are.”
The midfield signings have been joined at Highbury by young defender Liam Hogan from non-league Halifax.
The club are still looking to strengthen further before the start of the season, with the back four now a priority for Alexander, who has only Hogan, Nathan Pond and Alan Goodall to call on at centre-half.
He said: “We’ve still got targets. We have to be careful because the squad is getting a little heavy now.
“But there are still positions we are looking to improve and we’ll look to make sure those gaps are filled.”
Town kick-off their pre-season action at 7.45pm on Thursday.
Lee Ashcroft’s Northwich are playing home games at Flixton in Greater Manchester this season, having lived a nomadic existence since leaving their Cheshire home.
The club, who have fallen on hard times after a long stint in the upper tiers of non-league, are still hunting for a permanent home, having been evicted from the Victoria Stadium in 2012.
Ashcroft took over at the Vics following the departure of former Fleetwood and Blackpool player Alan Wright for Southport, where one of his first signing was one-time Highbury team-mate Jamie Milligan. Entry for the Northwich game is £5 for adults,£3 for concessions and £1 for children.
Town travel to Austria on Saturday to continue their pre-season preparations at the National Sport and Recreation Centre in Obertraun.
There they will take on a team from nearby town Bad Ischl before facing a sterner test on Friday week against Cypriot Champions APOEL Nicosia.