Nottingham Outlaws 2017 league campaign finally kicks off on Saturday when they travel north up the M1 to Halifax where they will take on Siddal Academy in their inaugural Yorkshire Premier Division fixture.
The Outlaws have been catapulted into the top division of the Yorkshire League after eight consecutive seasons in Conference National, a competition that saw them trekking across the country from Cumbria to Somerset and London to West Wales. Indeed the close proximity of their games will be something of a blessing after recent seasons.
The first of these trips sees them take on Siddal, one of the competition favorites, which will provide a good barometer of where the club is at in terms of standards and also what they are likely to encounter playing wise in the coming weeks and months.
The Outlaws players went into camp this week confident in their build up as coach Strachan continued to mull over some of his playing options. Indeed the wily coach remained some what tight lipped when asked about team selection for the opener, commenting “Dean and Whittle will continue in the halves and I’m looking for players to work a bit harder to give them options this week. In the pack Alex Wright has consistently been our best forward in pre-season and we need players to lift to his level.’
Whilst the final make up up of the squad remains in question, there will be at least two or three changes to the squad that lifted the Heroes trophy.. Definitely out is utility player Nick Tasker and with threequarters Goodwin and Chaima also in doubt there are likely to be a number of changes in the backs. However with a number of new signings knocking on the door there are no shortage of takers eager to pull on the shirt.
As the players went through their final preparations before the big kick-off it was coach Strachan who summed up the mood in the camp, commenting ‘Something we’ve spoken about is no amount of practice will give you the right attitude so Saturday we’ll see where we’re at. We need to demonstrate we’re willing to work hard for each other. I’ve got no expectation on result or anything as this is a bit of leap in the dark but it is very exciting!”
The Outlaws supporters coach leaves The White Hart at 10.30am on Saturday morning.