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In just over a week's time, Dorking Wanderers will begin their first ever season in the National League Premier with Chesterfield the visitors to Meadowbank on August 6th.

For 'The Spireites' the fixture will mark the beginning of their fifth consecutive season in non-league's top tier. Back-to-back relegations saw the club drop out of the football league at the end of the 2018/19 season following a 97 year association.

After 14th and 20th placed finishes respectively in their first two campaigns in the National League, the club have finished within the play-off places in the previous two seasons (6th & 7th). The Covid affected 2020/21 campaign saw the club suffer a 3-2 last-minute defeat away at Notts County in the play-off eliminator stage, before going one better last term, defeating Halifax Town away 1-2 in the eliminator, ahead of a semi-final away defeat against Solihull Moors, ending 3-1.

After the dismissal of manager James Rowe back in February, Paul Cook made a return to the club having managed them previously between 2012 and 2015. After narrowly missing out on the League Two play-off's in his first season, Cook led 'The Spireites' to the league title in the 2013/14 campaign, as well as taking them to Wembley to face League One's Peterborough United in the EFL Trophy Final, where they were defeated 1-3.

Having kept the club on course for a play-off finish since his arrival earlier this year, Cook's first full pre-season back has overseen several players coming and going as he and the club no doubt aim to go one step further this season and get across the promotion line.

Experienced goalkeeper Scott Loach and key central midfielder Saidou Khan have moved on to Derby County and Swindon Town in the Football League respectively, whilst other regular midfielders Jak McCourt and Jim Kellerman have also departed, with the latter making a switch down south to Woking.

In re-shaping his side Paul Cook has brought in a couple of player's from his previous club Ipswich Town, as youngsters Bailey Clements (full back) and Armando Dobra (winger) make the move up from Suffolk. Former Crewe Alexandra and Plymouth Argyle winger George Cooper will provide competition for Dorba out wide, and popular midfielder Ollie Banks has made a return to the club after six years away following spells in the EFL with Oldham Athletic, Tranmere Rovers and Barrow. The club have further strengthened their attacking options ahead of the new campaign with the acquisition of exciting winger Jesurun Uchegbulam from Matlock Town, and have just signed experienced midfielder Mike Jones after his release from Barrow.

And, of course, Wanderers may well be coming up against a familiar face a week on Saturday as Darren Oldaker makes his return to Meadowbank after moving up to Derbyshire in June.

'The Spireites' have retained key attacking personnel from last season including Liam Mandeville, Joe Quigley and Akwasi Asante, but the club's top scorer and National League Team of the Year striker Kabongo Tshimanga will remain side-lined for the coming weeks as he continues recovery from a leg fracture suffered back in February.

After winning a couple of games behind closed doors against Rochdale and Sheffield Wednesday, Chesterfield began pre-season in mid-July with a 0-2 win away at Matlock Town in the Ernie Moss Challenge Cup, Joe Quigley and Armando Dobra grabbing the goals. A week later, 'The Spireites' hosted Bradford City at The Technique Stadium and ran out 3-0 winners, Quigley scoring a brace and Liam Mandeville adding the third as all goals were scored in the second half. Pre-season preparations concluded against National League North side Boston United last Friday evening, where goals from Jamie Grimes and Michael Gyasi secured a 0-2 win and maintained the 100% record for pre-season.

Don't miss out on what will be a historic and memorable opening day of the season at Meadowbank on August 6th! Secure your tickets now at:


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