DEFENDING LEAGUE champions, Sligo Rovers, have lined up a hectic pre-season schedule, including a possible friendly game against a top English club.
Manager, Ian Baraclough, and his new assistant, Gary Stevens, arrive back in Sligo this week while the players report back for pre-season training next Monday.
Included in preparations for the new campaign are a four day tour to Jersey and a possible match against English opposition.
The trip to Jersey, during which Rovers will play a local League representative side, will take place from February 6th to 10th, while the week-end of February 15th/16th has been pencilled in for a possible game against an English club.
The date coincides with the fifth round of the FA Cup and Rovers are hoping to persuade a team not involved in the competition at that stage to travel to Ireland for a pre-season match at the Showgrounds in Sligo.
"It's something we're working very hard on but much will depend on what teams are knocked out of the FA Cup by then", reported Baraclough.
Rovers have also lined up games against a Sligo/Leitrim selection, Castlebar Celtic, Athlone Town, Longford Town and Irish League side, Ballinamallard, as part of their build-up to the new season which begins with an away match against Derry City which takes place on March 8th.
Meanwhile, the club is actively pursuing a number of new signings and hope to make positive progress before the weekend.
Former Bohs defender, Evan McMillan, and Derry City striker, David McDaid, have been linked with the Bit O'Red.
The club will also hold further talks with 2012 captain, Danny Ventre, when he returns to Sligo later this week.
Rovers preparations for the new campaign received a timely boost when Baraclough and goalkeeper, Gary Rogers, were honoured in the SWAI awards at the week-end.
Baraclough was named Personality of the Year while Rogers won the Goalkeeper of the Year award.
"It's nice to win personal accolades but this award was for the whole squad", said the Rovers boss