PRESTWICH Heys assistant manager Ian Hutchinson wants his players to "put on a show" when they take on a Bury FC XI at home on Saturday.

Hutchinson admits to being surprised at some of the football his side produced in their opening match of pre-season last weekend, when they won 8-1 at Cheshire League Premier side Styal.

New signings Robin Greenwood (two) and Nathan Bond were on the scoresheet, while striker Paul Tierney scored twice, with further goals from the manager's player of last season Greg Wills and full-backs George Powell and Craig Thomas.

The signs are good ahead of Heys' return to the Hallmark Security League – formerly North West Counties League – following promotion last season, with the opening match of their First Division campaign confirmed as being at home to Widnes on August 6.

The remaining fixtures will be announced this weekend, but Hutchinson's immediate focus is on Saturday's visit of Bury.

"We are looking to put out a strong team and put on a bit of a show," said Hutchinson.

"Any footballer worth their salts should relish the chance to pit their wits against the very best players they can.

"And while Bury will not be bringing along their first team, whoever plays - whether they are trialists, youth teamers or first-year pros - they are there on merit.

"It will certainly be a good test of our squad, but it was a very well-contested game last season.

"I think we lost 2-1 in the end, but it was a high quality game and I expect to see the same approach from our players again this year."

After Saturday's run-out (kick off 12pm), Heys will be at AFC Monton on Tuesday (7.15pm), while the reserves will be at home to Pennington on Wednesday (6.45pm).

Hutchinson says the matches have been timed to coincide with the number of training sessions they have completed in a pre-season that started in mid-June.

"Our plan to win promotion last season was always built on fitness," added Hutchinson.

"We wanted to be the fittest team in the league and that's how it panned out.

"This year is no different, but after stepping up a level that means we will have to step up our fitness another level as well.

"The players we have brought in will help us to do that, but we were already confident the side we put together last season was capable of making the step up to the North West Counties.

"Thankfully, we have kept that squad together. The only player we have missing at present is Dalton McLaughlin, who is over in America coaching but will be back for the start of the campaign.

"We have been putting on three training sessions a week for the last month or so and have had 30 players at every one.

"They know that without that level of fitness they will not be considered for the team.

"What we didn't expect on Saturday was for the playing side of things to gel so well.

"The game against Styal was a fitness exercise, but we played some really good stuff.

"It looks like we have some difficult decisions to make in terms of team selection, but it is the kind of headache you want as a coach."