Hitchin off to Devon

It s down to Devon for Hitchin on the opening day of the season in the Southern Premier League. The Canaries make a 200-mile journey to Tiverton this Saturday as the British Gas Business League gets underway. They ended last season against Tiverton, beati

It's down to Devon for Hitchin on the opening day of the season in the Southern Premier League.

The Canaries make a 200-mile journey to Tiverton this Saturday as the British Gas Business League gets underway.

They ended last season against Tiverton, beating them 3-2, but lost on their last visit to Ladysmead 6-2.

Hitchin manager Darren Salton is in confident mood as the league campaign finally begins.

"We have had a good pre-season - I am satisfied with our fitness level and the squad I have," he said.

"I am very confident we will have a successful season."

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But he is aware that Hitchin have a tough start.

"We have some difficult fixtures in the first few weeks but this will provide the ideal test for our players and help us gauge how far we've progressed."

Salton hopes to field his full strength side and is hoping that both Gavin Jaggard and Carl Williams recover from knocks received at Salisbury in the Southern League Championship Cup game.

Tiverton have had an uneasy few months, with the loss of key players and some strong criticism of long-serving manager Martyn Rogers.

Then the former Bristol City defender received a blow this week when striker Nathan Pepperell joined Bath City after Rogers had trailed the youngster for weeks.

Jamie Mudge, who scored a hat-trick against the Canaries in that 6-2 defeat last December, is doubtful for the game due to injury.

Hitchin's first home game of the new season will be on Tuesday against King's Lynn who will include former Top Field favourite Matt Nolan in their line-up.

* Arlesey Town begin their Ryman League Division One North campaign with a trip to Potters Bar on Saturday.

Bury Town are the visitors to the Raj Villa Stadium on Tuesday night.