The draw for the 1st Round of the FA Trophy has paired City with Dr Martens Premier Division newcomers Halesowen Town. The trip to the Western Division champions will take place on Saturday 2 November and will be City’s first game there since the final game of the 2000-01 season. That match ended 2-0 to the already relegated Yeltz and saw the final appearance in City colours for Paul Bodin, Martin Paul and Scott Walker amongst others.
Following his successful effort in keeping City in the Dr Martens Premier Division Alan Pridham will sign a one-year contract within the next couple of days but will remain unpaid in his managerial duties. Following his move from Paulton Rovers in May 2001 Pridham had done the job without a signed contract but shortly after the 1-0 victory at Worcester that guaranteed City’s Premier Division place he was offered a deal by the City board. The contract will see an undisclosed amount allocated to the manager but he will use this sum in the playing budget. Only if he is sacked will the club be required to pay the remainder of his contract.
City have made a number of changes to their pre-season campaign adding clashes with Bashley and Mangotsfield United plus replacing the trip to Weston Super Mare with one to Cinderford. The game against the Bashley will take place on Saturday 27 July, with the meeting against Wimborne Town scheduled for the same day becoming a reserve team fixture, and City will complete their friendlies with the trip to Mangotsfield United on Saturday 10 August. For the full revised list, including reserve team friendlies, go here. City’s players will begin pre-season training on Tuesday 2 July.
Former Swindon Town apprentice Andy Minturn has become the latest summer arrival to Twerton Park. The 26-year old centre-back has signed non-contract terms following his switch from Dr Martens Western Division side Cirencester Town.
Following their second place finish last season City’s reserve side will begin their Screwfix Western League Premier Division campaign with a trip to Brislington on Saturday 17 August. Other fixtures of note in Dave Hobbs sides first season at the highest Western League level since reforming two years ago include a home clash with Champions (and City’s FA Cup conquerors) Bideford on 9 November and a local Boxing Day trip to the University to face Team Bath. The return match against Team Bath completes the 34 games season on 21 April. The full fixture list can be found here.
City’s next summer signing looks set to be Weston Super Mare striker Frankie Bennett. The 33-year old former Bristol Rovers player has held talks with manager Alan Pridham and should sign a one-year deal this week. Bennett, who also had spells with Southampton, Shrewsbury and Exeter, will be best known to City fans as Forest Green’s hat-trick hero who sent the Romans out of the 2000-01 FA Cup (not that the two City penalty missess had anything to do with the outcome!).
City will face a home tie in the 1st Round of next seasons Dr Martens Cup after they were paired with fellow Premier Division side Tiverton Town.
The recent annual meeting of the Dr Martens League saw mixed success for City. A motion to close the transfer loophole that saw Newport County steal Scott Walker for nothing last close season was unanimously accepted. However, another rule change that City were against was also passed. From next season Dr Martens teams will be allowed to name up to five substitutes, bringing them in line with League and Conference clubs.
City’s main sponsor for the 2002-03 season will be Bristol-based accountancy firm Bentley Jenison. Their name will take over from Techni-Cal on the front of City’s new kit following the Patrons Club draw that took place after England’s World Cup victory over Argentina yesterday. Second place in the draw went to BVC and third to John Moore Sports. The new home and away kits are due to launched in July.
With most of Alan Pridham’s transfer targets engaged in World Cup action in Japan there has been little movement in that direction. Although Rob Cook, who narrowly missed a place in England’s 23-man squad, has been linked with a return to Twerton Park following his brief loan spell last season.