Prestwich Heys have stepped up their preparations for the new season by confirming their pre-season friendly schedule.

After last weeks announcement by the FA, of the constitution of the North West Counties League, with a proposed season start date of September 5, Heys Manager Matt Barnes has ramped up his side’s build-up.

Heys have been in socially-distant training for the last month but with the Government giving the go-ahead for matches to recommence, the club have been able to fix dates for an eight-match build up to the new campaign.

As things stand all the games will be behind closed doors.

Nonetheless, the action begins this Saturday, when Heys host Beechfield United at Adie Moran Park. The game pits Barnes’ side against the Manchester League Premier Division side with whom they have gone into partnership with this season.

Bury Times:

Beechfield have provided the likes of AlfIe Belcher, Brad Sixsmith and Jamie Sinnott in recent seasons to Heys and the partnership looks to extend those links with mutual exchanges of players and shared best practice.

Heys' second friendly sees them in derby action as they make the short trip to Elton Vale next Thursday night. There is a possibility that the match will bring them up against former players such as Dom Slaven, Lee Bruce and Danny Vincent, all of whom turned out for the Manchester League Division One side last season.

A run of three home games follows, with North West Counties League Premier Division sides Silsden and Padiham visiting Adie Moran Park, either side of a date with West Lancashire League outfit Turton.

Heys then face another West Lancashire League opponent when they travel to Eagley before wrapping up their preparations with home games against North West Counties Division One South teams Maine Road and Wythenshawe Amateurs.

Whilst the league season is set to start on September 5, Heys may be in competitive action on September 1, as the FA have indicated that will be the start date of the FA Cup.

Heys have applied but with the competition oversubscribed, they must wait along with other Step 6 sides to see if they make the cut.

In previous seasons, this has been based on final league positions. However, with last season curtailed due to Covid-19, the FA have decided to make a random draw.

The announcement is due on August 3. when the draw will also be announced for the FA Vase.

Pre-season fixtures: Beechfield United (H) August 1,Elton Vale (A) August 6, Silsden (H) August 8, Turton (H) August 11, Padiham (H) August 15, Eagley (A) August 18, Maine Road (H) August 22, Wythenshawe Amateurs (H) August 28.