PARKGATE FC say the money they will bring in from this weekend's friendly against Rotherham United is so important to the club.
All 800 tickets for Saturday's match at Roundwood sold out in three-and-a-half hours last week.
The traditional curtain raiser to the Millers' pre-season friendlies, the match could not take place last summer due to the pandemic and its return is particularly welcome to Parkgate.
They stand to make at least £7,000 in profit which will be ploughed into their day-to-day costs ahead of the Northern Counties East League season which gets underway at the end of the month.
Chairman Albert Dudhill said: “We will make £7,000 to £8,000 in profit, not counting drinks sales, but I can't express enough how vital that money is to us.
“We have lots of operating costs to meet and it is not easy.
“We need the support of people in Rawmarsh, Parkgate and Rotherham, not just now but throughout the season.”
Although life is expected to return to something like normal at the end of this month, Covid-19 will still impact on the fixture.
“The capacity is limited to 800 and we won't be opening the bar,” said Albert.
“That's because we are only allowed 36 in the main room sat at tables and waitress served, so it is not viable. We can't cover our costs if we do that. However drinks will be on sale outside.”
Gate manager Andy Dawson is set to blood new signings and having seen Gate predictably emerge second best against the Millers' full-time pros before, he knows the experience is more important than the result.
“It is a completely different level for our lads,” he said. “Unfortunately, they are not going to be at that level but to be able to pit their wits against these players is great. Opportunities like this don't come round very often.
“There will be seven or eight new faces from last season and even some of the existing players won't have played in this fixture before so it will be good for them as well.
“It's just nice for us to be able to be back playing.”
Big numbers at training have also given Parkgate's coaching staff a boost — and a headache — ahead of the new season.
Dawson added: “We are getting 25 players to sessions, which is great but it also creates a slight headache because at some point you have to trim that down.
“We had a game between ourselves on Saturday just to really have a look at a few players and different things and that has led us on to the Rotherham squad selection.
“I would rather be in the position where we have lads that are hungry and fighting for shirts than scraping around trying to find players at this point.
“We have been training since the start of June, so we are already ahead of where we would have been, but the season will soon be here.”
Kick-off is at 1pm.