SALISBURY FC’s season gets underway this Saturday (August 12) away at Mangotsfield United, as Steve Claridge’s side looks to gain promotion from the Southern League Division One West.

Having narrowly lost out on promotion last season, losing to Tiverton Town in the play-off final, the Whites will be looking to make a good start in the league.

Salisbury beat the South Gloucestershire side twice last season, 2-1 at home in August and 3-1 away in April, on their way to finishing second in the league.

The Whites struggled at the beginning of last season, only winning five out of their first ten league games and manager Steve Claridge is hoping for a good start to the season.

He said: “We definitely hope to start the season a little bit better than we did last year.

“There is more room for error this season.”

Salisbury will have four chances of promotion this coming season as the league have a new format, with two teams going up automatically, one through the play-offs and one best third placed team.

Claridge said: “It’s a shame because it’s a season too late for us, because we would have gone straight up last year.”

Claridge also added that, despite this, his team will face competition from plenty of teams.

He said: “I think it will be the same teams as last season, Taunton and Evesham as well as Cirencester who came down. They will definitely have a go, and Swindon Supermarines - all those sorts of sides.”

Despite conceding plenty of goals last season, and the 92 goal partnership of Justin Bennett and Tommy Wright, who have departed, Claridge doesn’t seem too fazed and believes that Marvin Brooks can do a job for the Whites.

He said: “We’ve lost a lot of goals and that’s not ideal for any team.

“But if we can get the right service into Marvin, then he will do us a great job.”

Claridge also said Chris Shephard would be a big player for the Whites, saying: “We need to get Shephard in the right areas.

“I want to play him (Shephard) just left of the three or in just behind the front player.”

Salisbury’s first league home game of the season is on Tuesday, August 15 (7.45pm) against Paulton Rovers.