LEE NOVAK can’t wait to go back to Gateshead.

Town’s first friendly is not so much a chance for the 22-year-old striker to return to his former club, but an opportunity to press his Galpharm claims as the countdown to 2011-12 gets under way.

Novak, who helped Tyneside’s top non-league club earn a place in the Blue Square Premier before switching to Town two years ago, was a regular substitute towards the end of last season.

Now he wants to be in the starting XI, and is looking forward to the campaign.

“I’m desperate to get a good pre-season under my belt and to steer clear of injuries,” said proud Geordie Novak.

“I had a couple of bad injuries last season which really set me back, so I’m hoping to stay injury-free this next season and do my best for the team.

“If I can keep myself fit, hopefully I’ll be able to get myself into the starting side and score some goals.

“Obviously it was hard losing the way we did in the play-offs and we’ve got to make sure we do it automatically this time.”

Town will christen their new red away kit at Gateshead tomorrow.

New signings Calum Woods, Oscar Gobern, Donal McDermott, Tommy Miller and Liam Cooper are in line to play in the first of six senior run-outs which continue at Wrexham next Wednesday.