AN intense pre-season programme will stand Steeton in good stead for the forthcoming campaign, according to manager Roy Mason.

The Chevrons are preparing for their second season in semi-professional football and are looking to build on the success of an encouraging first season.

They are also preparing for a busy opening month of the new season as they face seven matches in August in Hallmark Security League Division One North.

Steeton kick off on Saturday, August 3 with a trip to AFC Blackpool. Mason has left no stone unturned in his homework for the season after setting his players off on an intense pre-season programme of regular friendly matches and fitness training regimes.

Mason said: "We have made pre-season a lot more intense.

"When I was a player we had two pre-season games and a lot more training. Now it is a lot more football focused during pre-season.

"We are anticipating at the end of August we will have a settled squad. We have a very busy August. We have a nice little trip to the seaside on the first day as well. We went there in January last year. We knew we were going to be away in our first two league games as Keighley Cougars have home games at Cougar Park.

"We've got a lot of games in August, so we have arranged to have more games in pre-season than we normally would to prepare for it. We need that game situation. The lads need game time under their belts.

"Rather than doing a training session, the majority of the squad are getting 90 minutes. We are playing two different teams in the matches.

"We started pre-season earlier than last year. We have done a lot of fitness-based training this pre-season. The players have enjoyed it so far.

"Pre-season is the busiest time of the year.

"We will be a match for anyone in the league this season."

Steeton drew 1-1 at Kirk Deighton Rangers on Saturday but have also announced a number of new recruits and new signings.

Former Guiseley striker Kayle Price, who scored against Deighton, has signed for the Chevrons, as has former Barnoldswick Town striker Bailey Coates.

Mason's side have also re-signed a number of players. These are; Alistair Morgan, Michael Armitage, George Tidswell, Aaron Davis, Tim Hird, Sam Rooke, Toby Rawcliffe, Jack Richmond and Tom Leach.

The manager says he wants to add more experience to his squad to complement his existing younger crop of players.

Mason added: "We need one or two slightly older lads that will give us a little bit of experience. They know how to slow the game down and when to quicken it up.

"The younger lads here are all one year older now, they have had that first season in semi-professional football under their belt. That kind of experience will help them. They will come back in pre-season better players for it.

"What we want to do is to be a self-sufficient club. We want to have a solid platform to build on for the future.

"It's been a bit difficult to get new players in. We will keep the nucleus of the squad from last year and will build on.

"We realise where we are in the food chain. There are teams at our level with bigger budgets than ours. We want to kick on.

"We want to bring players who want to be here and are the right fit for us and are joining us for the right reasons. Everyone wants to play as high a level as they can."

Steeton host Barnoldswick Town this Saturday in the first of an annual pre-season trophy game.

The teams will play for the inaugural Archie Airdrie Trophy at Summerhill Lane (3pm kick-off) which celebrates the life of the club stalwart who died in December 2018.

Archie's son Stewart is chairman of Barnoldswick and the two clubs have developed a close relationship in recent times. All proceeds go to Airedale Hospital Oncology Department. Entrance is £3 adults, £1 concessions.

Steeton fixtures 2019-20: Saturday, August 3: AFC Blackpool (Away), 7: Garstang (a), 14: Lower Breck (Home), 17: Atherton LR (a), 21: Cleator Moor Celtic (h), 24: AFC Darwen (h), 26: Shelley (a); September, 11: Holker Old Boys (h), 19: St Helens Town (a), 21: Daisy Hill (a), 28: Pilkington (h); October, 12: Ashton Town (a), 26: AFC Liverpool (h); November, 2: Chadderton (away), 9: Golcar Utd (a), 16: Emley AFC (h), 23: AFC Liverpool (a), 30: Chadderton (h); December, 7: Atherton LR (h), 14: Holker Old Boys (a), 21: Prestwich Heys (h), 26: Nelson (a), 28: Garstang (h); January, 4: St Helens Town (h), 11: Bacup Borough (a), 25: Ashton Town (h); February, 1: AFC Emley (a), 8: Shelley (h), 15: Pilkington (a), 29: AFC Blackpool (h); March, 7: Golcar Utd (h), 14: Lower Breck (a), 21: Bacup Borough (h); April, 4: Prestwich Heys (a), 11: Daisy Hill (h), 13: Nelson (h), 18: AFC Darwen (a), 25: Cleator Moor Celtic (a).