The start of a new season is keenly-awaited by any footballer, but for Southport new boy Andy White there is extra reason to look forward to the campaign ahead.
White says he is relishing the chance to prove himself at a higher level and develop his career with Southport after making the move this summer from Nantwich Town.
During his four years as left-back with the Evo-Stik Premier League club, White was named Player of the Season three times in a row, earning particular praise for his performances during the last campaign.
A youngster with Crewe Alexandra, White, 24, has turned in some assured performances during pre-season and is confident that he can take the step up in his stride, starting with Saturday’s opening match at home to Boston United.
“It sometimes feels like the summer lasts for a lifetime and as a player you really look forward to playing that first game,” he said.
“When the old season finishes, you enjoy the first two weeks but then you start focussing on getting yourself fit again so I’m ready to go.
“I’m really looking forward to this season. In my first two years at Nantwich, I felt as though I should have pushed myself further, so when the chance came to move to Southport, I didn’t hesitate.
“I joined Crewe when I was 11 and I stayed there until I was 20. I moved straight to Nantwich and I really started enjoying my football because chances to get into the team at Crewe were limited.
“A few teams from this league contacted me. I feel that I’ve had a couple of good years and I think the time is right to play at a higher level.”
White was part of the Nantwich team that reached the semi-final of the FA Trophy two years ago and Evo-Stik Premier League play-offs last season.
Having established himself as a full-back, he says that the shape preferred by manager Alan Lewer means he has needed to adjust his own game to play at left wing-back but is enjoying the freedom and flexibility it brings.
“I hadn’t played as a wing-back before and playing there means it is more important to think about what positions you need to get into,” White added.
“You need to be an attacking threat but you’ve also got to defend the opponent’s winger, so we’ve spent a lot of time on our shape as a team.
“I think Alan has always played 3-5-2 with the teams he’s managed and once you get the shape right, it is very difficult to break the team down and it’s good going forward.
“I’ve always liked getting forward and I like to get assists, so hopefully I can build on that this season.
“It’s hard trying to put together a team from scratch but there’s definitely been progress over the past few weeks and you can see the work we’ve done on our shape and partnerships.
“We’re all new faces but we’ve tried to bond as a team to make sure we’re ready for the start of the season.”