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Pickering Town trip to Brighouse parades SAS axis
JIMMY REID is hoping forward Liam Salt can grab the goals to push Pickering Town to a top-six finish in the Northern Counties East League premier division.
The Pikes return to action with an opening day trip to Brighouse tomorrow and Reid, who along with his coaching team performed miracles at the Recreation Ground to stave off relegation last season, is hoping his team can continue their upward trend this time around.
Reid has brought in former York City winger Liam Shepherd, along with Dean Readman, Joe Danby, Dean Craig and goalkeeper son Arran Reid, but Salt has surprised him the most in pre-season.
The long-serving striker has suffered in the last couple of campaigns with serious injury but has blasted back to form – his two goals against the Minstermen in a pre-season 6-2 home defeat the most eyecatching.
Reid said: “Liam Salt is an out-and-out goalscorer and knows where the net is. He has worked really hard this summer.
“I hadn’t seen it before – I could only look at what was in front of me – but he has come back and worked hard and I take my hat off to him.
“He’s back in the starting line-up. I think he’s got seven goals in six pre-season games, and he has done well.”
In Shepherd, who has flitted around a number of clubs since leaving Bootham Crescent and has moved to Pickering from Tadcaster Albion , Reid also thinks he has a top player on his hands.
“He’s got the potential to be one of our best two or three,” he added.
The Pikes boss says he is realistic about his team’s potential, with other NCEL premier sides able to pay more to attract better players.
“That’s why we lost Tom Adams and Joel Ramm to Scarborough,” he said.
“We were disappointed to lose them but you get on with it. Someone else will take the opportunity and come along and do it.
“If I put my hand on my heart, hopefully we can finish in the top six. We can’t do it on a regular basis against the big boys who are paying more but we want to carry on what we did last year. If we can take 70 per cent of our home form to away games we will do well.
“Our pre-season games against York and Whitby Town, who we beat 5-2 in midweek, are the benchmark. That’s how we want to play. If we can do that, we won’t be too far away.”
Meanwhile, Tadcaster Albion get their premier division campaign under way with a tough-looking trip to Bridlington, while big-spending Scarborough Athletic – tipped for promotion this season – are at Hall Road Rangers.
In division one, Selby Town , beaten 12-1 by Bradford PA in a midweek friendly, entertain Rossington Main as they bid to bounce back from relegation at the first attempt.