Margate kick-start their 2021/22 home pre-season campaign off on Saturday as they welcome Ernest Batten’s Sheppey United to Hartsdown Park.
It will be the first official game back at Hartsdown Park in front of supporters since October 2020 due to Coronavirus, and Margate Chairman Ricky Owen has agreed that this game will be free to all supporters, however they must purchase their ticket before midday on Saturday through the club’s online shop.
For Margate Manager Jay Saunders, it will be a welcome relief to be back in front of a crowd at Hartsdown Park after such a long absence.
“I can’t wait and neither can the players. On Tuesday at Bearsted that’s all the players were talking about, getting in front of our home crowd”.
“There is a lot of new faces so they haven’t all played at Hartsdown Park yet, and if they have it hasn’t been in front of a crowd so they are looking forward to that”.
The Blues lost their opening pre-season fixture on Thursday evening away at Bearsted, however Saunders says the 90 minutes for his players was more important than the result.
“It wasn’t ideal playing Thursday and then having another game on Saturday but there were positive aspects to the game like seeing different partnerships all over the pitch”.
“We are looking to put on a good performance on Saturday because we are trying to create stability at the club and get back to enjoying those days and nights that I remember at Hartsdown Park as a player and now as a manager, and the key to getting that stability and recreating those moments will be good support”.
Sheppey played their latest pre-season fixture on Thursday evening with a 2-1 away win at Sittingbourne. Former football league striker Jack Midson, formerly of AFC Wimbledon and Oxford United now plays for Sheppey and is expected to feature on Saturday afternoon.
Kick off at Hartsdown Park is 3pm with turnstiles open from 1:30pm.
Blues Beat Sheppey at HDP
Margate recorded their first win of pre-season on Saturday as they beat Sheppey United 2-1.
An early own goal and a second half strike from Dan Thompson either side of a Sheppey goal scored by one of their four trialists was enough for the Blues.
Margate return to action on Wednesday as they welcome a Gillingham Xl to Hartsdown Park with kick off at 7:45pm.