THIS weekend marks the start of the pre-season campaign for Ledbury Town. 

Saturday's home clash with Shortwood United is the first of seven games for the first-team in the month of July, with games against Tewkesbury Town and Tuffley Rovers Development to come. 

They are also set to face Cheltenham Civil Service (July 18), Cinderford Town Devs (July 21) and Gala Winton (August 4). 

They will be hoping to get some good minutes under their belt ahead of another tilt at the title this season. 

They came within a 90th-minute goal of promotion last year, an equaliser from Welland Town denied them three points in the penultimate game of the season and handed Sporting Club Inkberrow the chance to seal the title the following week. 

Ledbury led the league for so long in 22-23, so to be pipped at the death was a hammer blow for Ian Merrick's side. 

But they will no doubt be fully charged and ready to give it another go this time around and they have made a couple of changes to the coaching set-up across their three teams over the summer months. 

Stu Hill has joined the Swifts (club's third-team) as assistant manager, continuing his 20-year involvement in the game.

"I have been playing football for more than 20 years. Ledbury has a great future and this opportunity will give me the chance to bring knowledge to the team and enhance what is already apparent at Ledbury," he said.

"It's about improving whilst giving local players and new faces opportunities to benefit them and the club. I am really looking forward to the season."

As for the first team, they have a new goalkeeper coach in Nick Blakeway.

"It is a privilege to be able to continue in this new role at the club. I feel incredibly proud to be part of Ian's (Merrick) back room team and I am excited for the season ahead," he added.

"With Alex, I believe we have the best keeper in the division and I look forward to continuing our understanding and relationship."