Early derby test for Whitley.
WHITLEY Warriors face a tough opening month of games following the release of the ENL North Division One fixture list - and the highlight is an early meeting with Tyneside rivals Newcastle ENL Vipers.
After opening their account at home to Sheffield on September 14, the Warriors are at the Newcastle Arena three days later and then end a hectic opening week of ENL action with a first-ever visit by Coventry ENL Blaze to Hillheads on the following Sunday.
"It is a big first week for us because all three sides will be full of young players looking to make their mark at Elite League clubs," admitted Whitley coach Simon Leach after reviewing the fixtures.
"Sheffield are always tough opposition, home or away, while games against Newcastle are obviously very competitive.
"And we will be facing Coventry for the first time, so they will very much an unknown quantity to us.
"But there will be no easy games in the ENL or the Northern League this season and that's just what we want.
"Games against the Scottish sides are always tough, and now the ENL will be the same because that league has been split into two divisions," continued Leach.
"It will be very competitive every week now that we don't have to take on the likes of Bradford or Grimsby, and the players will have to play hard in every game to achieve the success we want this season."
A trip to Blackburn on September 28 rounds off the opening month of fixtures in the English National League, but it is likely that there will be at least one Northern League game - including a match on the opening weekend of September - to make the start to the season even more demanding.
TEST: Simon Leach