Stourbridge face a tricky away fixture in the Evo-Stik NPL on Monday night when they travel to Ilkeston. Kick-off is at 7.45 pm.
The Robins, having lost out narrowly in the play-off final last season, when they went down 1-0 at Curzon Ashton, will be keen to mount another strong challenge this time out, despite some changes behind the scenes.
Manager Kevin Wilson moved on towards the end of last season, and is now manager at National League North Nuneaton Town. In the hot seat now at the New Manor Ground is former Scotland under-21 international Gavin Strachan, son of the current Scotland boss, Gordon.
Ilkeston fell to what would probably have been a disappointing 3-1 home defeat on the opening day against traditional strong starters, Skelmersdale United. Since then, however, they have recorded back-to-back away wins at Grantham Town (2-1) and Colwyn Bay (2-0), to leave them in 8th place in the Premier Division table.
One notable signing on the eve of the new season is veteran striker Lee Hughes, formerly of Kidderminster Harriers, West Bromwich Albion and Coventry City, amongst others. Glassboys supporters may recall that Hughes opened the scoring for Harriers in last season's Worcestershire Senior Cup tie between the teams at the War Memorial Ground.
The meetings between Stourbridge and Ilkeston last season proved to be highly entertaining affairs, and a repeat would go down well with paying spectators, if not both managers.
On the first Monday of the season, the Glassboys took a thrilling victory at the New Manor, thanks to Chris Knight's injury time winner. Having led 2-0 and 3-1, two goals in the last ten minutes, including a stoppage time penalty, seemed to have rescued a point for the home side, but Knight popped up to ensure otherwise.
At Amblecote, again under lights, Chris Lait and a Matt Dodd penalty put Stourbridge 2-0 up, only for Ilkeston to halve the arrears after the break. Kayelden Brown made it 3-1, but the visitors this time succeeded in salvaging a draw with a 93rd minute equaliser from Callum Chettle.
Ilkeston have drastically reduced their admission prices this season in a bid to boost attendances, a move that will no doubt be monitored with interest by the rest of the Division.
TRAVEL TO ILKESTON
A club coach is running to this match, departing from the War Memorial Ground at 4.30 pm. At the time of writing, seats are still available and can be booked by contacting Jim McComish on 07966 568767.
For supporters making their own way to the game, the address of the ground is as follows:
New Manor Ground
Directions can be found at the following link: