Craig Priest Stags blog: Pre-season will be a tough test for Mansfield Town

NMAC12-1280-1''STags Fan Craig Priest
NMAC12-1280-1''STags Fan Craig Priest

Ah July at last and we are now thoroughly looking forward to kicking-off pre-season, writes Craig Priest.

So long as our respective opponents don’t try and replicate the dreadful countdown to kick off used at Euro2012.

The names in there such as Leamington, Shepshed and Rainworth may seem unappealing and an easy run out – nothing could be further from the truth, every game will be a test.

Our first opponents Leamington had a strong season last term, finishing in seventh just three points shy of the final play-off spot being beaten only twice on home soil.

Hednesford, who we faced last pre-season, finished fifth with our new boy Chris Clements being a shining star for the pitmen. Their pitch is tough to play and last time tested our shape and positional knowhow.

Gainsborough Trinity, our fourth test of pre-season have some quality in the ranks and plenty of ex-Stags stars.

Last season they lost in the play-off final to Nuneaton. Steve Housham’s boys are quick on the attack and strong at the back and will provide another character building test for us to work on breaking sides down.

Excited by the philosophy of pre-season and the individual test each of our 10 opponents I stop for a second to remember that horrid night at Ilkeston.

I doubt that’ll happen again but we have to be prepared for anything – a champion has to face a million battles to keep winning the war.

Is it time for kick off yet, bring on the oncoming storm – football’s nearly back!