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It's been a long two months since the end of the 2016/17 season, hasn't it? But fear not, because Notts County are in action again as of this weekend! The Magpies' pre-season preparations are fully underway and the players will take to the pitch for the first time in 2017/18 when they take on Linby Colliery Welfare at Rolls Royce Leisure tomorrow. Then there will be a pre-season friendly every following Saturday, after which the season gets underway on the first weekend - oh, plus the small matter of a fixture against a local team by the name of Nottingham Forest on Wednesday 19th July. Here is a factfile about each of the teams that Notts will face over the coming weeks. Rolls Royce Select XI (A): Saturday 8 July, 3pm This fixture is usually the first pre-season game of Notts County's season, given the partnership between the Magpies, the Rolls Royce Leisure Centre in Hucknall, and North Nottinghamshire College. The programme, also knows as the Notts County Pathway Academy, sees students study towards a BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Sport and offers the chance to combine professional level football training with academic studies. Basford United (A): Saturday 8 15 July (3pm) Basford United play their football at Greenwich Avenue in Basford, a suburb of Nottingham, and currently ply their trade in the Northern Premier League - Division One South, where they finished 6th in the 22-man league last season to qualify for the promotion playoffs but lost to Coalville Town in the semi-finals. There are quite a few names at Basford that you might recognise - manager Martin Carruthers was born in Nottingham and played up front for the likes of Aston Villa, Stoke City, Peterborogh United, Southend United and Scunthorpe United. Former Notts players Saul Deeney and Kyle Dixon, plus ex-Forest man Eugen Bopp, are also on their books. Nottingham Forest (H): Wednesday 19 July (7:45pm) Never heard of them. Wigan Athletic (H): Saturday 22 July (3pm) One of the success football stories of the 21st century (except for the last couple years, mind), Wigan were only elected to the Football League in 1978. They were little more than a footnote in the English game until 1995, when JJB Sports owner Dave Whelan purchased the club, but within 10 years they were in the Premier League. The Latics enjoyed a total of eight seasons at the top table, but the greatest moment in their history ended up being rather bittersweet, as they won the FA Cup in 2013 but were relegated from the top flight in the same season. The last few years have been tumultous for the club, as they now find themselves in League One just a year after winning promotion back to the second tier from the third. Since 2013, Wigan have either been relegated or finished the season in the promotion places (automatic or playoff). York City (A): Saturday 29 July (3pm) The Minstermen have endured a rollercoaster few years, reaching the League Two playoffs in 2014 and winning two FA Trophies, in 2012 and 2017, but now play in the National League North after two successive relegations in 2016 (from the Football League) and the season just gone. York play at Bootham Crescent, a stadium near the city centre and just over a mile from the city's railway station which they share with rugby league club York City Knights. It was formerly known as KitKat Crescent for sponsorship reasons - why they didn't call it Yorkie Crescent is one of the great mysteries of life. Share your thoughts about this feature article on Pride of Nottingham by signing up to the website, visiting the forum and joining in the chat with hundreds of fellow Notts County fans.
So this is how we stand at pre-season friendlies: Rolls Royce Leisure Select XI Rolls Royce Leisure Sat Jul 08 2017 15:00 Basford United Greenwich Avenue Sat Jul 15 2017 15:00 Nottingham Forest Meadow Lane Wed Jul 19 2017 19:45 Wigan Athletic Meadow Lane Sat Jul 22 2017 15:00 York City Bootham Crescent Sat Jul 29 2017 15:00 Which one are you looking forward to the most (you'd think it's a no-brainer - Forest - but let's not assume) and which ones will you be attending? Let PON know.