Captain Sam Richardson is expecting a tough test for Manchester when they visit Birmingham tonight, 6.15pm kick off.
The 30-year old is one of the most experienced players at the Club and he knows that he’ll have to use all of that experience to get a positive result in the season opener.
Richardson said: “As other teams have seemed to reduce their investment and changes, you'd put Birmingham as favourites to win the national title as they have increased their investment and recruitment of experience on top of the base from last season.
“I was surprised they didn't make the finals as they were the most organised and difficult team I played against. Other than the result, I really enjoyed playing against them and very much look forward to Sunday.
“I feel the team played into their system naively at times and gave easy goals away because of this, as opposed to making them work for them.
“We also need to be direct and make the right decisions when we attack.”
He continued: “It would be great to win to avenge the previous season and put a marker against the team people consider to be the benchmark for this season.
“With Chris (Vernon) banned for this game, the new mix of the squad and it being the first game, it's a strange one and difficult to predict how it will go and what can be learnt from it, but everyone is looking forward to it, no doubt about that.”
Our number ten missed the final game of last season due to other commitments and he states that it was good to get a break before attacking pre-season head on.
Sam stated: “As I missed our FA Cup quarter final tie, it's felt like an even longer off season for me personally!
“It's great to get a good break sometimes and try and get rid of any niggling injuries in that time.
“Hopefully we've planned it better and given everyone a chance to recharge the batteries and come back feeling refreshed and ready to go.”
Speaking about pre-season, Richardson commented: “Pre-season has gone fairly well with regards to recruitment and training.
“The best thing that came out of it was that we got a great balance of new players and characters for the first team and the Academy, which means there's a competitive environment.
“I think the first team would have liked another friendly or two prior to the first league game, although our overall season plan is better organised than last year and, ultimately, that should help us be at our optimum level when it's demanded.”
One of Sam’s team mates, Raducio King, was heavily involved in the PFL Futsal Showcase in Orlando in the summer and he believes that it’ll be a massive boost to both the Club and the sport.
He remarked: “Both the PFL Showcase and Indian Premier Futsal raised the profile of the sport on a global level and a lot of footage from that and also the UEFA Euros went viral.
“It just means more and more people are exposed to the sport and get a chance to see it themselves.
“The main difference for the club is we don't have to bang on everyone's door so much to explain what futsal is. Now we are getting more people, businesses and communities reaching out and contacting us.
“I think this can only be beneficial in all regards, to both the club and the sport as a whole.”
The 30-year old also spoke of his delight at Kingy, as he is known around the Club, featuring with Falcao and Ricardinho in America.
Richardson said: “Our Club is based on a core of values, which is key to the foundation and growth, and in that respect we're like a family, so I'm more than delighted for my brother Mr King.
“He definitely deserved his spot and fully represented himself and the club 100%.”
When questioned on his aspirations for the season, Sam revealed that he’s set a couple of personal goals as well as a team one.
Sam stated: “For me, I want to be fully competitive and put the maximum effort into this season and do the best I can do each game.
“I don't personally like to say I want to win this or that, but I think if you do the above, believe in your ability, your team and the setup and put the full effort in, you will end up finishing where you deserve or thereabouts.
He continued: “My only real goal this season is to try and balance my playing and coaching mindsets better than last season and enjoy playing my own game.
“The Club’s goals are more specific and clear. The aim is to regain the northern title and be back and involved in the finals, where we believe we belong.”