ACCRINGTON Stanley will come up against a friendly face in the first game of the new Conference campaign.
Left back Stuart Bimson spent a month on loan at Stanley at the start of last season and played their opening six games.
And now he will be returning to the Interlink for his new club Canvey Island after he signed for them from Cambridge United.
The 36-year-old has gone into property developing which is why he chose to go part-time with Canvey.
"I really loved my time at Accrington," said Bimson, who helped Stanley to four wins, a draw and a defeat. "I couldn't believe it when I signed for Canvey and asked what the first fixture was. I was made up when it was Accrington as I can meet up with some old friends and come home for the weekend," said the Liverpudlian.
"Although my time at Accrington was short, I really enjoyed it. I had come from a dressing room that was not good at Cambridge and I walked into that one and remembered what it was like to enjoy football every day and see the enthusiasm of the coaches and the management. I was only sorry it didn't work out after my loan spell with wages and things like that."
After leaving Stanley, he was sure they would go on and make the top five and he was shocked when they didn't.
"From what I had seen I thought Accrington were certainties for at least the play-offs. I was surprised when they didn't make it."
Bimson, though, is happy with his move to Canvey. "I think last year was all about consolidation for Canvey as they had a good season the one before when they got promoted to the Conference with record points. But, like everybody, they want to improve this season, they have striven to get better players in and obviously they want to climb the table.
"It will be hard as there are only Canvey, Altrincham and Southport who are part-time.
"But we have striker Lee Boylan who is a good player. He came on against East Thurrock midweek and scored a hat-trick in the second half. And, like every team, we just want to start off with a win."
But Stanley won't face an old player in the second game of the season.
It had been thought striker Lutel James, who spent four seasons with the Reds before he was released in the summer, would start for Altrincham on Tuesday but the hitman has taken a month off to get match fit and put his energies into his property development business.
"I haven't played since I got injured in November and I only want to play if I am totally right," said the striker. "I have put a lot of time and energy into the business and I am going to spend the next month getting match fit so I have asked Altrincham to give me a month to sort myself out.
"I would have loved to play against Accrington and meet up with Paul (Mullin) and some of the lads again. I don't hold any grudges and I wish them all the best but I need to get myself right. Hopefully I will be ready when the two clubs meet again next year."