Sir Alex Ferguson’s saviour kicks off pre-season action at Trinity

IRON MAN -- Mark Robins, manager of Scunthorpe United.

IRON MAN -- Mark Robins, manager of Scunthorpe United.

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The man once credited with saving Sir Alex Ferguson’s job as Manchester United manager opens the new season at The Northolme on Saturday when Gainsborough Trinity begin their pre-season friendlies.

It’s 25 years since striker Mark Robins scored the only goal for United in an FA Cup tie away to Nottingham Forest -- at a time when Ferguson was under threat for poor results. The rest, as they say, is history!

Now the 45-year-old Robins is manager of Scunthorpe United, who provide the first opposition in Trinity’s build-up to their new campaign in the re-branded Vanarama National League North.

It is not clear how strong a side The Iron will send for the match, which kicks off at 1 pm, with admission prices of £8 for adults and £5 for concessions.

But Robins has been busy through the summer, recruiting eight new signings who include Middlesbrough striker Luke Williams and ex-Leicester City forward Tom Hopper. He has also kept hold of seasoned 32-year-old Gary McSheffrey, who scored ten goals last season when The Iron finished 16th in League One.

After Saturday’s match, Trinity have lined up six more pre-season friendlies, including three against Football League opposition.

Next Tuesday night (14th July), they visit Lincoln United before further low-key away trips to AFC Mansfield on Saturday 18th July (3 pm) and Worksop on Saturday 25th July (3 pm). Then come attractive home clashes with Sheffield Wednesday on Thursday 30th July (7 pm), Sheffield United on Saturday 1st August (3 pm) and Hull City on Saturday 4th August (7 pm).

Steve Housham’s outfit begin the season proper on Saturday 8th August with a home game against Worcester City. That is followed by trips to Harrogate Town on Tuesday 11th August and last season’s runners-up, AFC Fylde, on Saturday 15th August.

Hopes are high that The Blues can mount a serious challenge for the promotion play-offs this term after a two-year transition period under limited resources.

After finishing 17th last season, Housham made it clear that he badly needed a goalscorer to improve his side, so he is delighted to have signed two new strikers in Marc Newsham from Boston United and Nathan Jarman from cash-strapped FA Trophy winners, North Ferriby United, whom The Blues are set to entertain on Boxing Day.