NEW signing Tony Carss is already backing Peter Jackson to turn Town into promotion challengers this season.
The 27-year-old made his debut in last night's 2-0 friendly victory against Wakefield and Emley at Belle Vue which delighted Jackson in his first match back at the helm.
Carss created the opening goal for Andy Booth and had been substituted because of a thigh niggle by the time Jon Newby marked his debut with the second goal in front of 1,051 fans.
"I'm delighted to be here after a summer of uncertainty and you've only got to speak to the manager, to realise his enthusiasm and note his plans for the team to be positive about the season ahead," said Carss, who turned down his old club Oldham and Colchester to sign a two-year McAlpine deal.
"The gaffer is still working to bring in extra signings for the squad, but he has already got some good players on board and we are hoping to have a crack at promotion this time.
"I have dropped down from the Second Division because I believe it can happen for us and the lads are already up for the challenge and ready to get back up at the first attempt if we can."
Carss will press for a central midfield slot rather than wide left, where he played against Ian Banks' UniBond side, who also featured several new faces.
Jackson will have Jon Stead in the starting line-up at Halifax on Saturday - he missed the Emley match having been hit in the face by a ball and knocked out during training yesterday - and the manager is happy that the injuries to Carss (thigh) and Rob Edwards (Achilles) aren't serious and that he had a full squad on the training ground today.
"Terry Yorath and myself have talked about last night and we couldn't be happier with what we got from the lads," said Jackson.
"To say it was our first game, the attitude was spot on, the organisation was good and the passing and movement was very encouraging.
"The strikers got a goal apiece and, while the defence weren't really stretched, they kept a clean sheet which is always good and, towards the end, I was delighted with the performance of some of our younger lads.
"I'm really excited, though, by some of the players we are getting on board and I'm looking to add some more as we go along."
Jackson had seven debutants in last night's starting line-up and sent on two more in substitutes Tyrone Thompson and (late on) Liam Eves. Trialists Steve Yates, Ian Hughes and Lee Fowler will all play again at The Shay.
"Fowler reminds me of Darren Bullock and I'll be trying to tie up his loan from Coventry during next week," added Jackson.
"Carss is an excellent signing for us, Yates and Hughes are two very good pros and I think Newby is a very good replacement for Martin Smith because he'll get stronger and sharper and his pace is a real boon to the team - he is someone who will chase every ball for me.
"I must also praise the lads who were already with the club, though, because they have been first class after all the club's many problems this year, they have worked well under me and Taff and there's a great spirit.
"If we can build on that and make a good start, I'm sure the fans will be very happy."