Season preview: How will Harrogate Town, Railway, Tadcaster Albion and Knaresborough Town get on?

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With the beginning of the football season this weekend, sports editor Ed White looks at the ins and outs and who could be the key men for all the regions semi-professional teams over the next nine months.

Harrogate Town, Tadcaster Albion and Knaresborough Town all have their opening match of the season this Saturday, while Harrogate Railway have another seven days to finalise their preparations.

HARROGATE TOWN - NATIONAL NORTH

MANAGER: SIMON WEAVER

INS: Paul Thirlwell (Carlisle); Andy McWilliams (Barrow); Connor Bower; Danny Ellis (Guiseley); Joe Colbeck (Bradford PA); Brendon Daniels (Tamworth); Paul Beesley (Gainsborough)

OUTS: Adam Nowakowski (Darlington 1883); Dom Rowe, Leigh Franks (both Scarborough); James Walshaw (Bradford PA); Rhys Meynell (Shaw Lane Aquaforce); Shane Killock (Hyde United);; Simon Lenighan (Frickley); Jamie Milligan; Jake Speight (Kings Lynn); Niall Dorran, Phil Barnes Ashley Worsfold (all Buxton)

VERDICT: After a turbulent year, Simon Weaver seems to have a settled squad with a blend of youth and experience. Their response to defeats will be crucial to whether they meet the off-field ambitions of the club.

KEY MAN: Dom Knowles (forward) - Brought back to score goals, and for Town to mount a play-off bid, he needs to score with regularity. Pacey and direct, can be the difference in tight games.

ONE TO WATCH: James Cadman (midfield) - With injuries to Ryan Fallowfield and Andy Gascoigne, 19-year-old Cadman will get a chance to shine. Showed a bundle of energy at end of last season and has the talent to score goals.

BEST RECRUIT: Paul Thirlwell (midfield) - At 36, he offers experience but is a Roy Keane type figure in midfield. Will help younger players around him and keep hold of the ball.

FIRST FIVE FIXTURES: Brackley (A), 3pm August 8; Gainsborough Trinity (H) 7.45pm, August 11; Hednesford Town (H) 3pm August 15; Curzon Ashton (A) 7.45pm, August 17; Tamworth (H) 3pm, August 22

PREDICTION: 7th

HARROGATE RAILWAY - EVO-STIK FIRST DIVISION NORTH

MANAGER: LEE ASHFORTH

INS: Jordan Outerbridge ; James Beaston; Jack Stockdill; Charlie Clamp ; Cameron Lyn; Ryan Sharrocks; Roy Fogarty; Dan Barrett ; Alex Low; Barry Frankland; Redmond Lee; Alex Jones;

OUTS: Matt Heath, Adam Baker, Jordan Armstrong (all Tadcaster Albion); Rob Youhill (Darlington 1883); Malachi Farquharson (Rushall Olympic).

VERDICT: A year of rebuilding is ahead for Railway following Billy Miller’s departure. It will take time for the new squad to gel, but in Lee Ashforth, they have a steady head at the helm. A renewed link with Harrogate Town is a must.

KEY MAN: Tom Goodwin (goalkeeper) - Sublime after signing for the club last season. Needs to be as sharp between the sticks to stop Rail’ shipping goals.

ONE TO WATCH: Vincent Dhesi (forward) - Signed from Tadcaster Albion at the back end of last season. Plenty of flair and trickery in attacking areas.

BEST RECRUIT: Cameron Lyn (winger) - Has excelled during pre-season. Must fill Rob Youhill’s rather large shoes but brings pace to the team out wide.

FIRST FIVE FIXTURES: Droylsden (H), 3pm August 15; Spennymoor Town (A), 7.45pm, August 18; Brighouse Town (A), 3pm, August 22; Scarborough Athletic (H), 7.45pm, August 24; Clitheroe (A), 3pm, August 31.

PREDICTION: 16th

TADCASTER ALBION - NCEL PREMIER

MANAGER: BILLY MILLER

INS: Joe Thornton (Shaw Lane Aquaforce), Jimmy Beadle (Scarborough Athletic), George Conway (Pontefract Collieries), Gary Stevens (AFC Emley), Adam Baker (Harrogate Railway), Jordan Armstrong (Harrogate Railway), Matt Heath (Tadcaster Albion)

OUTS: Tom Morgan (Ossett Town), Denny Ingram (Pickering Town), Lewis Clarkson (Bridlington Town).

VERDICT: After two failed promotion bids under Paul Marshall, new Albion boss Billy Miller needs his squad to hit the ground running. They have plenty of fire-power and a boss who is a stickler for preparation. They’ll be there or thereabouts at the end of the season.

KEY MAN: Matt Heath (defender) the ex-Leeds United man joined Miller from Railway. He’s a leader on the pitch and will stop Tad conceding sloppy goals.

ONE TO WATCH: Josh Barrett (winger) Still young, but has developed well over the last few years. Useful on the wing but versatile too.

BEST RECRUIT: Gary Stevens (goalkeeper) Was top drawer against Tad in the FA Vase last year and has started well too.

FIRST FIVE FIXTURES: Maltby Main (H) 3pm August 8; Parkgate (H) 7.45pm August 11; Hebburn Town (A) 3pm August 15 (FA Cup); Athersley Recreation (A) 7.45pm August 19; Brigg Town (H), 3pm, August 22

PREDICTION: 1st

KNARESBOROUGH TOWN - NCEL DIVISION ONE

MANAGER: PAUL STANSFIELD

INS: Steve Weatherhill (back to Australia); Callum Rodgers (moved to the area) Connor Donoghue (Ripon City); Dan Hickey (Harrogate Railway).

OUTS: Mitch Hamilton (scholarship in the United States), Byron Littlefair (Thackley); Colin Heath (unsure)

VERDICT: After the shock departure of Brian Davey, Paul Stansfield has not had long to get a team together. The smart move to bring Mark Smitheringale in as assistant should help recruit players and hopes are high that the squad can build on last season’s mediocre year in mid-table.

KEY MAN: Matt Duerden (defender) Figurehead for the club at the back. Alongside Aly Wilson and Will Lenehan, Boro will be hard to break down at the back.

ONE TO WATCH: George Eustance (winger) Has shown plenty of trickery from wide areas in previous seasons but has impressed in pre-season and looks likely to cause defences problems

FIRST FIVE FIXTURES: Teversal (A) 3pm August 8; Rossington Main (A), 7.45pm August 11; WestellaVIP(H)3pm August 15; Dronfield Town (A) 7.45pm August 18; Winterton Rangers (A) 3pm August 22

PREDICTION: 8th