DONCASTER Rovers will open their pre-season campaign away to local Northern Counties East League Premier Division Armthorpe Welfare.
The game at Church Street will be take place on Wednesday, July 6 - less than 72 hours after the Rovers players report back for pre-season training following their summer break.
The game follows the trend of recent years whereby Rovers’ boss Sean O’Driscoll has take his full available squad to a leading local amateur club in their first warm-up game - a policy welcomed by all the clubs involved.
“The game against Rovers is very important for the club and, depending on the size of the crowd on the night, it will generate up to 75 per cent of out total income for the season,” said Welfare boss Des Bennett.
“So we are very grateful to Sean for bringing his squad here because I’m sure that he could easily have lined up a game against a much bigger club. It is good that he has always been keen to help grassroots football since he’s been at Doncaster.”
It will be Rovers’ second visit to Armthorpe in three years. They traditionally look to rotate fixtures against the top local sides, but agreed to return to Armthorpe after learning that the game would act as a testimonial for 47 year-old Bennett,
A popular and highly-respected figure on the local footballing scene, Bennett has been associated with the club for over 20 years.
Bennett, who has been team manager at the club for 13 years, says he feels honoured to be granted a testimonial, but told The Star that he will not touch a penny of the money raised.
“Apart from a donation we will be making to Doncaster Royal Infirmary to show my appreciation for the care and dedication afforded to my late mother in the stroke unit late last year, all the money raised will go to the club,” he said.
In addition to cutting admission prices to £6 (adults) and £4 (concessions) to reflect the economic climate, there will also be the added attraction of a 30-minute curtain-raiser featuring a Rovers Legends X1.
The team, which will include the likes of the Snodin brothers and Colin Douglas, as well as Bennett, will take on a General Public X1, made up of people prepared to pay to play.
Bennett is confident that Welfare will give Rovers a decent work-out.
“We gave Rovers a good game the last time we played them and hopefully that will be the case in July,” he said.
“All the players will be reporting back in mid-June to make sure that we will be up for the game.”