Three key players will be absent for the big kick-off to Holbeach United’s season on Saturday.
Skipper Jamie Stevens, last term’s top scorer Josh Ford and left-back Adam Jackson are missing from the Tigers squad.
You don’t want to go into an FA Cup game first off with players suspended from last season, especially when the financial rewards are massive for clubs at any level.Tom Roberts
Stevens and Ford must serve two-match bans for red cards in the 7-0 defeat away to Leicester Nirvana at the end of April.
Jackson – who returned to Carter’s Park this summer following a successful spell at Spalding United – is awaiting further checks on a fractured ankle.
Holbeach will return to competitive action as they host Swaffham Town in the Emirates FA Cup extra preliminary round before next Tuesday’s ChromaSport & Trophies United Counties League Premier Division curtain-raiser at Yaxley which is subject to a cup replay for either club.
Manager Tom Roberts said: “They’re all key players for us and a big loss.
“It’s a tough one but you’ve just got to go with it.
“You don’t want to go into an FA Cup game first off with players suspended from last season, especially when the financial rewards are massive for clubs at any level.
“But that’s knockout football. All you can do is pick the team you think will win and get you through, whether it’s a horrible 1-0 or not.”
Yaxley away in midweek is another tough way to begin a campaign, this time in the league.
The Cuckoos are one of the sides Roberts is tipping to do well this year.
“It’s tough to say who you think will do well at the start of the season,” he continued.
“Even on social media the Northamptonshire sides have been quiet so you don’t really know what they’re doing.
“But Peterborough Sports have shown they want to get promoted from this division and Yaxley have a good squad.
“Deeping Rangers have done well in pre-season and there are the usual ones up there.
“But with a new squad coming together we will probably aim for the top four and see how far we can take it.”
The Tigers’ pre-season programme finished with home defeats to Stamford and Spalding.
Roberts added: “We have learned a lot of different things in those two games and they were good work-outs.”
Now the focus turns to Saturday which offers an extra incentive of £1,500 in the FA Cup prize fund.
The winners will be away to Kirkley & Pakefield or Walsham Le Willows in the preliminary round on August 20.
Last weekend Swaffham started the season with a 1-1 draw at Saffron Walden Town in the Thurlow Nunn Eastern Counties League’s Premier Division as Jake Platten got the Pedlars’ equaliser with virtually the last kick of the game. They were reprieved from relegation at the end of last term.