Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Stafford Rangers are set to take on a Europa League Cup qualifier and two Football League clubs in a strong pre-season programme announced on Wednesday.
Newly promoted Rangers, who secured the Evo-Stik NPL First Division South title last month to clinch a place in the top flight come August, open their warm-up games at home to relegated Championship side Bolton Wanderers on Tuesday 12 July in a 7.45pm kick-off.
Rangers football secretary Robbie Mullin said: “I can confirm that Bolton, who approached Rangers for the fixture, will be bringing a strong squad. I believe we’ve lined up a good variation of fixtures for our pre-season, including an away day to the coast for our supporters.”
Rangers continue with two more home friendlies, Premier League West Bromwich Albion certain to provide Neil Kitching’s squad with a tough test on Saturday 16 July before Staffordshire neighbours Tamworth of the National League North visit Marston Road on Tuesday 19 July.
Four away fixtures follow, starting with a trip to Llandudno on Saturday 23 July in a 2.30pm kick-off. The Welsh club, now playing on a 3G pitch, have just finished an excellent third in their debut Welsh Premier League campaign to gain automatic qualification to the Europa Cup qualifiers.
Rangers next head to Staffs rivals Newcastle Town on Tuesday 26 July, Kidsgrove Athletic on Saturday 30 July and Chasetown on Tuesday 2 August, all rivals faced by Kitching’s side in their title-winning campaign.
Rangers officials say Kitching also hopes to book one more home game on Saturday 6 August, a week before the champions kick off life back in the Evo-Stik NPL Premier Division.