Easington the first pre-season visitors to Hillheads

Whitley Bay will play their first home game of their pre-season programme on Saturday when they welcome Easington Colliery to Hillheads Park for a 3pm kick-off.

Easington won promotion back to the Northern League second division after finishing last season as runners-up in the Wearside League.

The sides met four times in league and cup games shortly after Whitley returned to the Northern League in 2000, but their only previous friendly fixture, played back in 1999, was a remarkable encounter with the fans witnessing 11 goals as the Colliers emerged 7-4 victors.

While the principle aim of pre-season games is to develop player fitness and team work, Whitley will certainly be looking for a very different outcome on this occasion.

Then on Tuesday, July 28, Bay continue their build up to the new season when they travel to Mariners Park to face a rejuvenated South Shields side, with the kick-off at 7.30pm.

On the following Saturday, August 1, Paddy Atkinson’s side complete their pre-season programme at home to a Hartlepool United XI, with the Northern League season beginning a week later, on August 8.