SILSDEN’S manager Danny Forrest is "itching" to return to football, as his side prepare to make a comeback to pre-season on Saturday.

In what was a turbulent pandemic year, games were postponed, leagues were curtailed, and the Northern Counties East League Premier Division was no different.

When the season was brought to a halt, Forrest's side were sat in 15th out of a possible 20, with only ten games played, and as the new campaign is around the corner, Silsden's boss is raring to go.

He said: "We are all itching to get back.

"We are doing our best to get prepared for Saturday, whether it's sorting existing players out, getting new signings over the line, and just ensuring the overall planning is in place for our return.

"There is a lot of excitement building. When you return to pre-season there is always that freshness, enthusiasm, and optimism for the lads returning.

“That energy among the group will be there and I’m sure they are all looking forward to it.”

In line with the pandemic and the restrictions on life it has caused, many people have struggled mentally, and Forrest believes it is pivotal that football returned.

He said: “Yes it’s massive that we and other sides are returning, whether it’s mentally or physically.

“It serves a lot of purposes does football, and I know that some people have struggled more than others, but we are all ready to get back doing what we love.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time being at home with my family, but football is all I’ve ever known, so being away from it for a long time has been tough.

“Hopefully, we can get some consistency in playing again, and with that, aid people’s mental health again.”

The Cobbydalers boss, after a stop start previous campaign, hopes his side can build on their mid-table finish and show some progression.

He said: “Our goals will be to compete. Covid has played a part in messing up a couple of seasons now, but we have had a few mid-table finishes.

“So, hopefully we can improve on that and see where it takes us.

“I’m ambitious, I’m a winner and I want to be as high up in the table as we can get. We will be looking of course towards the top end of the league.”

And looking ahead to pre-season and possible recruitment for the new campaign, Forrest said: “I feel like the group needs freshening up, so we will be adding five or six new faces, there is no doubt about that.

“We’ve got a great set of lads, which include loyal players, so to combine them with a few fresh faces it will be only a positive thing for us.

“Unfortunately, Josh Kaine our captain has suffered a serious leg injury and dislocated his ankle as well, and our fullback Carlton Pownall has seriously damaged his Achilles, so we are already two down in that regard.

“We may be looking at a year (out) for both of them, so we do need to find replacements to have a similar impact.

"Pre-season will obviously give us the chance to work on fitness, but we will look to integrate new lads, keep developing our style of play and identity, and look to perform in the lead up to next season."