By Chris Harris
The annual visit of Arsenal is "massive" for Barnet, according to their new manager Mark Stimson.
The two clubs have enjoyed a special relationship for many years with Underhill regularly hosting Arsenal's second-string games. And on Saturday the Bees will welcome Arsène Wenger's first team for what has become the Gunners' traditional pre-season curtain-raiser.
It's a chance for Wenger's stars to shake off their summer cobwebs and an opportunity for Barnet's players to pit their wits against the best. The professional benefits are obvious and so are the financial ones with a full house expected at Underhill.
"Financially it is massive for the club," Stimson told Arsenal.com. "The chairman, myself and everybody at Barnet appreciate Arsenal coming down and all their supporters. It is certainly a great help for us and again we look forward to the game as Barnet have in years gone by.
"The two clubs have had a very good relationship for years and we want to try and keep that because financially for us, it’s huge. It is a chance for our supporters to see some of those big names come down and show how the game should be played in the right way. Long may that continue."
Wenger is expected to pick a side with a mix of youth and experience and there is a chance that new signings Marouane Chamakh and Laurent Koscielny could make their debuts. But Stimson knows Barnet face a stern test regardless of who lines up for the visitors.
"It's always nice if you can have the bigger names there because that attracts the crowd," he said.
"But I am sure whoever turns up and puts the Arsenal shirt on will play with a certain amount of class and ability. And I am sure the supporters will come in their thousands to watch maybe a couple of younger players who will be big players in the future for Arsenal."
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