PREPARATIONS for the new season are well underway at Lostock Gralam FC with the return of Neil Bithell as manager for a second spell with the Cheshire League side.
This time he will be assisted by Pat Collins with Ross Speight. Ted Harrison will continue as manager of the reserve team.
Bithell said: “I’m glad to be back as this is a club that’s heading in the right direction with the work going on behind the scenes to improve the facilities.
“The team is stronger than when I left and there’s some really good young players coming with me, so we’re looking forward to getting started.”
Bithell’s contacts enabled a rare opportunity to train at Manchester United’s Carrington complex on Saturday morning before a friendly game against Staffordshire League champions Hanley Town, which ended in a 4-3 defeat.
Lostock have also drawn with local rivals Barnton with goals from Palmer and Latham.
The club is awaiting a much anticipated decision from the Football Foundation as to whether they will fund nearly £500,000 worth of improvement work to the ground to provide new changing rooms and clubhouse and complete overhaul of the existing senior and junior pitch.
Club secretary James Birdsey said: “We’ve been waiting a long time for a decision now as putting together a project of this magnitude for a community club is hard work, but the finishing line is now in sight and we hope to be able to commence work this season if successful.”