AFTER almost 25 years in professional football you'd think Graham Barrow would be getting a bit blas about the opening game of the season. . . Don't you believe it!

At the start of his first full season in charge of the club, the Bury boss can't wait for the new season to get up and running, and admits he's as excited as the biggest fan about what lies ahead.

As curtainraisers go it looks a tricky one on paper for the Shakers.

Highly-fancied Yeovil Town are the visitors tomorrow, followed by difficult trips to Bristol Rovers on Tuesday and newly-relegated Grimsby Town next Saturday.

But according to Barrow, it's an ideal start to guage just how far his side have come on the playing side during the summer.

"I'm looking forward to this season in a big way," he said.

"You are always excited and nervous about the start of the season, we all get butterflies, that's what football is all about.

"Once you get the first game over, and games are coming thick and fast on Saturdays and Tuesdays, you soon get into the swing again.

"You can do all you want in pre-season but it's out on the pitch at 3pm tomorrow that the real stuff starts.

"It is a tough start but that's not a problem, I couldn't pick a team I'd rather play on the opening day.

"We will quickly find out things about ourselves and and discover what, if anything, we need to improve on

"We know all about Yeovil and what they are good at.

"They played at a very high tempo when we went down there last season and we were lucky to get a win when they came up here too.

"But saying that, they have conceded goals in their pre-season games.

"You have to have the utmost respect for them but keep it in perspective.

"Some of their team have come through the Conference but we have experienced players who have played at a good standard in the Football League.

"There's no way I'm going to make us underdogs against them."

The west country side have enjoyed some mixed results in pre-season, though they have gradually got themselves into a winning vein.

A 3-0 defeat at the hands of Bristol City was followed by a 3-3 home draw against Cardiff City, while last Saturday saw them travel to Devon where they defeated newly-promoted League One side Torquay United 4-2.

Three of their goals were scored by summer signing Barosz Tarachulski, a big Polish striker who has arrived from Polonia Warsaw.

The word around Somerset is that he is expected to form a prolific partnership with either Phil Jevons - another new signing, from Grimsby - and Kevin Gall who hit ten goals for the Glovers last term.

As for Barrow, he has options up front himself, with four strikers going for two places.

However, one player may have pushed himself to the front of the queue for a starting berth.

Teenager Dave Nugent has had a superb pre-season, culminating in three goals in the final two friendly games.

With that in mind it could be a case of him having secured one of the two striking slots come 3pm tomorrow.

"Dave's performances have twisted my arm in recent weeks which is what I wanted," explained Barrow.

"He's done well and has started to go in where it hurts.

"I said I'd be fair to players who show a hunger and he certainly has."

Barrow has also been pleased with the other young members of the first team squad, defender Tom Kennedy and midfielder Simon Whaley.

"I've been pleased with the attitude of Tom and Simon too," he added.

"We thought they would gain from their experience of playing in the league and that's how it's looking.

"I just hope they kick on now and get established themselves.

"All the players have had a hard pre-season in every sense, the games have been tough, but that's the way it's got to be.

"They are a good bunch of lads, they are in good form and we just need a bit of luck and a solid start."

Barrow's only disappointment is the absence of central defender Danny Swailes with a thigh injury, but hopes are high that he will be back in action in about two weeks time.

Kick-off at Gigg Lane tomorrow is 3pm.