BRIDGWATER Town manager Richard Fey says his side face a “tough start” to the new season, with the visit of Bashley and Merthyr to Fairfax Park in the opening two weeks.

Bashley were relegated from the Southern Premier League last season while Merthyr were beaten in the play-off final in May - and Fey knows his side face a huge challenge when the season gets under way.

He said: “It's a tough start for us, with Bashley at home who were relegated last season but were a big club and will want to go back up, so it's going to be tough - and then home to Merthyr the week after says it all.

“They are another side who have lost in last two play-off finals and have a new manager, so we will have to be at our best.”

As well as fresh faces in the playing squad, Fey has revamped the coaching setup following the departure of last season's player/assistant manager Geraint Bater.

Bater has moved back to former club Mangotsfield, so Nathan Rudge assumes the role of Fey's assistant.

Fey said: “ Due to the budget slashed in half I couldn't afford to keep Ger and with him doing two jobs for me I was honest with him and told him he is better off playing every week at this level, which was something I couldn't guarantee as we are going with young lads in middle of the park.

“He played his best football at Mangotsfield and under Richard Thompson they will be up there with the signings they have made.

“I've managed to persuade Nathan Rudge into assistant manager because we have worked together before and I know what he is about - and also Steve Laker has stepped up from the reserves to help us.”

Andy Robertson has been elected first team captain for the new campaign.