MATT Barnes says he is targeting promotion for his Barnoldswick Town team as they gear up for this weekend's start to the new season.

Town get their campaign under way when they welcome Congleton Town to the Silentnight Stadium on Saturday (3pm kick-off) in the Hallmark Security League Premier Division.

They have enjoyed a good pre-season including a 5-2 win over Grindleton and beating Steeton 3-2 in the inaugural Archie Airdrie Trophy last month.

It has also been a busy summer off the pitch for Barlick, after they were awarded £25,000 worth of building materials to improve its facilities after taking part in a national competition run by builders’ merchants Buildbase.

The Buildbase £100k Transfer Deal 2019 is a renovation programme for clubs playing in the Buildbase FA Trophy or Buildbase FA Vase competitions.

Barlick manager Barnes said: "I think our pre-season has gone really well.

"The players signed in the summer are the ones we wanted to sign.

"We're ready and raring to go.

"We have a tough opener against Congleton. Every team wants to start the season at home. It's a tough game and I would rather play them at home on the first day, rather than in November. The first day is open to anybody.

"This is more my side now, rather than the previous manager's team. I have built my team now.

"Our target is to get promotion. Everybody will be targeting promotion this year. We've got to target it.

"This season is going to be tough. There are so many places up for grabs, more than normal.

"There is always pressure in football management. You need the pressure to hopefully succeed.

"We need to be consistent and be fit. We have got to be hungry in every game. If we are not, that's when complacency creeps in.

"We've got to take each game as it comes. We're ready for it and up for it.

"People are excited with what we can do. It is a big season ahead for us.

"There is a lot going on after we got the £25,000 Buildbase grant. It is up to myself, my management team and the squad to match that excitement."

It has been a busy summer of recruitment for Barnes.

Striker Ric Seaar has joined from league rivals Squires Gate and scored a hat-trick in Barnoldswick's 4-3 loss at Chadderton.

He also signed midfielder Joe Noblet from Charnock Richard, Ash Brierley from Nelson, centre-back Luke Gibson, Kasom Shah, Alex Ralph and Chris Turner.

In addition to the new signings, the club have announced that a number of players have been retained for the upcoming season

James Crorken has signed for another season, as have goalkeeper Ryan Livesey, who was diagnosed with bladder cancer in November last season, has also been retained by the club alongside central defender Marc Young, Lewis Morgan, Harrry Thompson, Ethan Kershaw, Andrew Hill, Josh Eastwood, Sean Cookson and Tom Goodall.

Among the players to have left are left-back Jake McEneaney, who has signed for Silsden, and forward Jack Coop.

Barnes added about the importance of Barlick having a goal threat.

He said: "Zack Dale is massively important. He is well-known for scoring goals at this level. Any side in the Northern Counties League would want to snap him up.

"I'm confident with the squad I have got. Last year was the best dressing room I have ever been involved in.

"This season we have added some characters and good players and there is a good vibe at the moment. It is top drawer."

Barnoldswick Town league fixtures 2019-20: August: 3 Congleton Town (home), 6: Charnock Richard (away), 17: Ashton Athletic (h), 21: Avro (a), 24: Skelmersdale United (a), 26: Squires Gate (h); September: 7: Longridge Town (home), 14: Bootle (a), 21: Hanley Town (a), 28: Litherland REMYCA (h); October: 5: Whitchurch Alport (h), 12: Irlam (a), 26: Winsford United (h); November: 2: Burscough (a), 9: Northwich Victoria (a), 16: Irlam (h), 23: Runcorn Town (h), 30: Whitchurch Alport (a); December: 7: Burscough (h), 14: Winsford United (a), 21: 1874 Northwich (h), 26: Padiham (h), 28: Litherland REMYCA (a); January: 4: Rylands (a), 11: Skelmersdale United (h), 25: Runcorn Town (a); February: 1: Northwich Victoria (h), 8: Congleton Town (a), 15: Squires Gate (a), 29: Avro (h); March: 7: Hanley Town (h), 14: 1874 Northwich Victoria (a), 21: Charnock Richard (h); April: 4: Ashton Athletic (a), 11: Rylands (h), 13: Padiham (a), 18: Bootle (h), 25: Longridge Town (a).