ALTRINCHAM fans had the chance to meet new manager Phil Parkinson last week as the Robins prepare to get ready for the new season.

After two tumultuous and tortuous seasons that have seen Alty plummet from the National League to the Evo-Stik Premier Division, there is a new wave of optimism sweeping through the J.Davidson Stadium, as preparations start for the new campaign that begins on Saturday, August 12.

Parkinson has assembled a very strong looking squad that commenced pre-season training on Tuesday night at their new training centre within the Wright Robinson Sports Village in Gorton.

And last Thursday evening, fans had the opportunity to attend a ‘meet the manager’ event with a difference.

A healthy number of supporters turned up at the community sports hall at The J.Davidson Stadium to see Parkinson introduce himself and his coaching and sports science backroom team, as well as 20 players.

Following a question-and-answer session with the new manager, Parkinson split his squad into groups of three, who sat and chatted with supporters at individual tables, before rotating every few minutes so that each fan present was able to gain an introduction to a good proportion of this season’s playing squad.

Parkinson was clearly delighted with the group of players that has been assembled, and said: “We have done our business early and the shop is now closed.

"There may be one or two trialists during the pre-season schedule, which covers nine games in a seven-week preparation period for the new season."

Things are progressing within the J.Davidson Stadium as well with the replacement of the pitch perimeter fencing, which has been been facilitated by a Football Foundation Stadium Improvement grant, providing 50 per cent of the funding, while the project has also benefited from £10,000 of funding from the Budweiser Dream Goal competition.

Altrincham’s pre-season schedule includes three home games and six away matches, commencing with a trip to Hallmark Security League First Division outfit, Whitchurch Alport, on Saturday, July 8.