SILSDEN boss Danny Forrest is looking forward to the new campaign on the back of a positive pre-season.

Having taken over last November, the former Bantams player begins his first full season at the helm when the Cobbydalers host Sandbach United in the Hallmark Security League Division One on Saturday.

Friendly matches over the past month have provided encouragement and included wins over Northern Counties East League neighbours Campion, Thackley and Albion Sports.

That has left Forrest – whose side concluded their pre-season programme with a 1-0 defeat at home to Manchester Premier League side Royton Town last week – optimistic, though he is expecting a tough test first up.

Saturday's opponents Sandbach lost 1-0 to REMCA Litherland in the play-offs last season and 1-0 to City of Liverpool FC in the Division One Trophy final.

Forrest said: “I have been very pleased with the pre-season form and look forward to the new season with relish.

“We lost 2-0 at Sandbach last September and 2-1 at home in October so we will need to be at our best.”

Forrest has managed to keep the majority of last season's squad - who finished strongly to only just miss out on a FA Cup spot - together and has re-signed former Silsden striker Joe Gaughan, who announced his return with a five-goal salvo in a 5-2 win over a young Halifax Town XI.

Last Saturday's fixture saw Royton claim the win thanks to a first-half goal from Matthew Parnall.

The visitors had originally been planning to visit Bridlington Town but the coastal outfit were playing in the FA Cup.

Playing against a strong wind in the opening half, Silsden went close through Mark Trueman and Kyle Hancock but were caught out on 15 minutes when Parnall headed home a superb cross.

In the second half, Gaughan went close following a through-ball from Arley Barnes – another player who has returned to Keighley Road – but the Yorkshiremen were indebted to keeper Callum Jakovlevs denying the Lancashire outfit a second on 70 minutes.

Forrest came on himself late on and saw a shot deflected on to the post as the Cobbydalers saw four shots blocked by the visitors.

Despite the defeat, Forrest was pleased with the number of chances created and the way his side moved the ball.

Following Saturday's opener the Cobbydalers travel to AFC Blackpool on Tuesday, August 15.

Meanwhile, the under-21s, who lost 2-0 on Saturday to Royton reserves, have further pre-season games against Oxenhope (tonight), Crossflatts (Wednesday, August 16) and Barnoldswick (Wednesday, August 23) before they begin their campaign in the West Riding CFA Under-21s Floodlit League in September.

Manager Paul Evans is looking forward to testing this newly formed team in the competition, in which three over-age players are allowed.

“We have had plenty of lads down training and have been pleased with their motivation and commitment," said Evans.

"The games will give us a chance to look at all the lads in a game situation. It will be a good challenge for the lads who will be playing against the likes of Harrogate Town, Tadcaster Albion and Halifax Town.”

* Silsden's young centre back Nathan Storton has been selected to play for the West Riding County FA under-18 representative team this season.

The 17-year-old Nathan played for the Silsden under-18 Youth Cup team last season as well as progressing through the development squad to the first team set-up, making his senior debut in April.

Luke Baldwin, Luke Rhodes and Mateusz Tomas join ahead of league opener on Saturday

Silsden AFC have added Luke Baldwin, Luke Rhodes and Mateusz Tomas to their squad ahead of the season opener vs Sandbach United at the Cobbydale Construction Stadium this Saturday (12th August).

Baldwin is an attacking player who can operate effectively in either of the wide positions as well as a more advanced central role. He was on the books of Bradford City until being released at 16 and has spent the last two seasons with Guiseley AFC Academy.

24 year old Rhodes adds depth in centre midfield and joins us after playing locally for Salts FC during the last few years. This was preceded by a spell at Thackley AFC.

Tomas joins after making some impressive performances during pre season including scoring an individual goal vs Albion Sports in mid-July . He had a spell at local side Silsden Whitestar last season and is predominantly a wide player who has the ability to excite with his attack minded play.