BURY AFC manager Andy Welsh says his side are “raring to go” ahead of the club’s first competitive game on Saturday.

The phoenix club travel to West Didsbury and Chorlton for the FA Vase first round qualifying clash as they kick off their inaugural season.

Welsh, who was appointed AFC’s first-ever manager last month, has busily put together a squad of 18 players and has embarked on a hectic pre-season, squeezing in five games in 18 days.

But he says there is no substitute for the real thing.

“You can play as many pre-season and warm-up games as you like but nothing beats playing competitive football,” said the former Sunderland winger.

“When there are points at stake or a place in the next round of the cup up for grabs then it means so much more. So we are all raring to go.”

Bury AFC’s build-up has been book-ended with games against fellow North West Counties League sides – a 5-0 win over Daisy Hill in their first ever game and a 2-1 defeat at Abbey Hey last week – and they face another league rival on Saturday.

Welsh says the trip to Manchester to take on the Division One South side will be a good early indicator to see what stage is side are at.

“We have had good, productive pre-season, we learnt a lot about ourselves and we have worked hard on ideas and structures,” added Welsh whose side also played landlords Radcliffe, Nostell Miners Welfare FC and Walshaw Sports.

“Saturday is a big test for us, it’s the first challenge of many challenges to come but we are all looking forward to it.”

Welsh would like nothing more than to get off to a winning start but says just getting 11 players out on the pitch playing under the name of Bury AFC is a victory in itself.

“Don’t get me wrong, we all want to win games but from where this club has come from in such a short time then we are already winners,” he said.

“I came to this relatively late but I know all about the hard work that has gone on behind the scenes. To a certain extent, the pressure is off on Saturday, we can go out and just enjoy ourselves.”

The game is sold out and fans are being urged not to atttend unless they have a ticket. 

There is a stream available for £4 HERE