WITTON Albion, who rate themselves a good bet for the UniBond League promotion play-offs, kick off their campaign against title favourites Farsley Celtic on Saturday.
But manager Gary Finley has to struggle with his first major problems of the season. New striker Andy Syder, signed from Telford, broke his collar bone in the friendly at TNS and will be sidelined for up to three months.
Lee Spike is suspended for three games, Adam Foy is away working in the USA until October 1, Brian Pritchard is not fit after a holiday and John Stannard and Steve Connors are both injured.
Finley said: 'It's no good moaning. We've just got to get on with it. It is a big blow for Andy, who had scored twice at
Lancaster and looked lively.
'We have strengthened the side and given the form pre-season we have got to be aiming for the play-offs.
'We are ready to go. In fact, we have been ready for two weeks.'
Albion were surprise winners on their trip to Leeds last season but Farsley won the championship only to be deprived of the title because Work-ington benefited most from the demise of Spennymoor United.
The Albion team that started the final practice match at TNS may well be the one that begins the campaign, namely: Kennedy; King, Pinch, Spearitt, Lath-am; Maguire, Lally, Lee; Byrne, Moseley, Peers.
Runcorn FC Halton are at Wincham Park on Tuesday (7.45pm). They bring an almost entirely rebuilt side based around former Australian international defender Jason Van Blerk.