SHEFFIELD Wednesday first-team stars providen daunting opposition as Stocksbridge Park Steels play their first home pre-season friendly at Bracken Moor tonight (7.30pm).
The Owls are sending a first-team squad to both Bracken Moor and Sheffield FC’s Dronfield ground (also 7.30pm) where they face a former Blade in Curtis Woodhouse, now in charge of Club after the sacking of Mark Shaw.
Steels warmed up for the game with a 5-0 win over Baris NCEL Division One side Worsbrough Bridge Athletic on Saturday where one of manager Chris Willcock’s summer signings, Ben Turner, was on target.
The Game against the Owls is the start of a fund-raising drive for Stocksbridge with the club hoping to raise between £25,000 and £50,000 over the next few months subject to an FA grant to upgrade the club’s youth pitches.
Chairman Allen Bethel said; “These games are vitally important for non-league clubs like ourselves that survive on small gates and reduced sponsorship due to the economic climate and we thanks Sheffield Wednesday for sending a team and supporting local football.
“We have 18 teams and 350 players across the age groups from junior to senior level and some of the game receipts from tonight’s game will go into the fund for the ground improvements.” Admission is £7 adults, £5 OAP’s with junior-school children free and secondary-school kids £2.
Willcock will include his new summer signings, including latest recruit former Owls defender Tom Rowbottom along with midfielders Nicky Darker, Gavin Lee Ellison, James Booker and full-back Ben Turner. The Steels boss has also named a number of trialists in his 22 man squad.
Sheffield brushed off the cobwebs with a 4-1 win at Bridlington Town on Saturday where Andy Gascoigne and Vill Powell, who rejoined the club for a second spell over the summer, netted a brace each. Woodhouse is set to include his other new arrivals Charlie Weir along with experienced midfielder Anton Foster from FC Halifax Town.