Whitley Bay have further strengthened their squad for the coming season with two big signings completed this week.
Experienced and highly rated centre half Michael Laws has joined from Spennymoor Town, where he spent four years and won three Northern League titles.
He was also voted Moors’ player of the season in 2011.
The club said he will add depth to the central defence unit, alongside manager Leon Ryan, Chris Reid and Craig Smith.
Mark Ellison has been signed from Crook Town, having previously been on the books of Hartlepool United, Darlington and Spennymoor.
Ellison is a combative and hard-working midfielder who has been attracting interest from a number of clubs and Ryan made no secret of his delight at securing his signature.
Alongside Robbie Bird, an attacking midfielder also brought in from Crook and striker Peter Watling, who arrived from Team Northumbria at the beginning of June, the Bay management team believe the newcomers give them a squad strong enough to challenge for honours in the season ahead.
The first pre-season friendly takes place tonight (Thursday) away to Jarrow FC at the Perth Green ground with kick-off 7pm.
An attractive local derby awaits the fans on Saturday when Whitley travel up the coast to face Blyth Spartans at Croft Park.
This game will see Bay up against several former players, most notably fans’ favourite Paul Robinson, and it will provide a tough test.
There have been changes to Whitley’s first two home friendlies, with Conference play-off finalists Gateshead coming to Hillheads on Tuesday, July 15, while the visitors on the following Saturday will now be Scottish side Musselburgh Athletic.