Phil Neville isn't used to playing football without the backing of his football-mad family, but that is something the Everton captain will have to contend with when he leads the Toffees out in the club's first pre-season friendly against Bury tomorrow night.
David Moyes' squad travel to Gigg Lane, the place of work for a number of the Bury-born Neville clan, who double up as passionate supporters of the newly promoted Npower League One outfit.
"For me personally, going to Bury is always special," explained the veteran defender. "My mum works there, my grandma works there, my auntie and uncle work there. Going home is always nice."
Despite the fact that the 34-year-old will for once not be able to rely on the support of his nearest and dearest, Neville could not hide his excitement of getting his first game under his belt.
After returning from the club's high altitude training camp in Austria, which was also attended by a number of the Blues' Academy players and coaches, Everton will be looking to put their pre-season preparations into action tomorrow, which are very much geared towards hitting the ground running come August 13.
"The quality of training has been upped this week with the internationals coming back," Neville told evertontv.
"But everyone is looking forward to playing the first game. The first ten days is always a bit of a slog and when the games start the fun starts."
Following the short trip to Bury, Everton then travel to North America where the senior squad play two friendlies in four days against Philadelphia Union and DC United.
The Toffees conclude their pre-season schedule with a home tie against La Liga side Villarreal at Goodison Park on August 5 before the season kicks off with an away trip to Tottenham Hotspur the following weekend.
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