WITH the merger having been formally completed between Woolston Rovers and Warrington Wizards, the focus is now turned to preparing for the forthcoming season as a bright new dawn promises to propel the club back into the higher echelons of the amateur game.

The club await an answer to their senior team’s application to rejoin the National Conference League and are ‘very hopeful’ of being given the green light in the next two weeks.

This will give the club the opportunity to get back to where they believe they belong.

Under the new unified terms, the open-age section will be called Woolston Rovers and the junior section will be re-named Woolston Rovers Wizards.

Officials say all sections are coming together as one ‘in order to ensure that the ambition to reach the top again is accomplished’.

Pre-season training for the open-age starts at Lysander High School’s 3G pitch on Tuesday from 7pm to 8pm.

All past players from Woolston and Wizards, along with any new players wishing to get involved, will be made welcome.

There will be a registration day for the junior section and the open-age on Saturday, January 12, at Monk Sports Club from noon onwards.

What they said on club’s new chapter:
Club chairman John Welch:
"We are fully committed to making this new era a complete success.

We have in place an excellent forward-thinking committee comprising of Wizards and Woolston people that will push the club forward and a very talented coaching set-up led by head coach Mike Grady.

He will also liaise with the junior section so that everybody is fully aware of what is going on.

We have a brilliant set-up at Monk Sports Club, the training venues are all in place, we have sponsors who want to be associated with us and we really cannot wait to get the season underway.

We believe that what we have put in place will attract new quality players to complement the ones we already have on board."

Junior chairman Darren Geritas:
"This is a really great opportunity for the club to move forward from here.

As a junior section we have voted unanimously to add the Wizards name on to the end of Woolston Rovers as it will give us a great identity.

We will be able to have theme days using the Wizards name and we are certain that the youngsters will love them.

Professional clubs all have mascots that their fans can identify with and hopefully we will be able to use the Wizard in that respect.

I am delighted that the merger has taken place. I was a Wizards player at the beginning of their existence so for them to have now merged with Woolston is absolutely fantastic and I know that they will bring a lot of quality to the club to compliment what we already have.”

Head coach Mike Grady:
"I am honoured to go into this new link-up as head coach.

I am under no illusion as to how tough it will be but it is a challenge that I will get stuck into and give it everything.

I am looking forward to getting started with a tough pre-season and working towards hopefully competing in the NCL. I look forward to working with Chris Ball on the coaching front and I have also brought Mike Stout and Ryan Jones in to assist me.

Those two will also be playing so that is a boost to myself and the team. Mike and Ryan bring a mixture of experience and enthusiasm with them.

I know that Woolston were the best amateur club in the country in the 90s, so the challenge is exciting as we aim to work our way back to the top.

I cannot see any reason why we can’t with the squad, backroom staff and committee that we have in place."