NEWBURY Blues have more than two months to go before the big kick-off – but coach Lee Goodall is already raring to go.
Goodall’s side return to training tomorrow night, and he is determined to ensure that they are among the challengers for the South West 1 East title next term.
Blues finished sixth last season – well adrift of champions Chippenham – and he is confident his side will vastly improve on that showing.
Goodall took three weeks off after Blues final game of last season on April 18.
But since then he has been preparing for the 2015/16 campaign.
He said: “There is a good feel and a real buzz about the club at the moment and we are very excited.
“We have kept all of last season’s squad and have two or three new players confirmed and possibly another full back.
“Everyone is raring to go. We haven’t lost anyone and the players have been working hard since the end of the season.”
Goodall also said that Newbury would be promoting several Colts to the senior set-up.
He said: “We want the young players to be an active part of the senior set-up and we are working with the RFU about their integration as it is a big step up.”
Goodall also said that the club’s focus would be on the first and second teams this season.
Blues are eager to gain promotion back into National League 3 South West, and will be concentrating on ensuring the first team are well prepared.
And they are also keen to close the gap in standard between the first team and the 2nd XV, the Stags, who will be playing in Berks, Bucks & Oxon 2 this season.
Goodall said: “We want to get the 2nd XV up and running and make them as competitive as possible.”
Blues don’t kick off their South West 1 East season until September 5 when they travel to a Trowbridge side that finished two places below them in the table.
But the preparation for the campaign has already begun.
On Tuesday this week Blues held a players’ meeting at the club to talk over their aims, hopes and ambitions for the coming season.
And tonight pre-season training gets underway at their Monks Lane ground.
From now until the start of the season, training will be held every Tuesday and Thursday evening, starting at 7pm.
Players of all abilities are welcome to attend.
Blues have also arranged four pre-season friendlies to ensure they are champing at the bit for the start of the season.
The first friendly is away to Southampton side Tottonians on August 15, and five days later they are at home to Winchester.
Two more home games follow against Wells on August 22 and Gosport & Fareham on August 27.
Blues fixtures for the coming season are:
September: 5 Trowbridge (a); 12 High Wycombe (h); 19 Swanage & Wareham (a); 26 Grove (h).
October: 10 Salisbury (a); 24 Leighton Buzzard (h).
November: 7 Witney (a); 14 Reading (h); 21 Oxford Harlequins (a); 28 Towcestrians (h).
December: 5 Maidenhead (a); 12 Windsor (a); 19 Swindon (h).
January: 2 High Wycombe (a); 9 Swanage & Wareham (h); 16 Grove (a); 23 Salisbury (h); 30 Leighton Buzzard (a).
February: 13 Witney (h); 20 Reading (a).
March: 5 Oxford Harlequins (h); 19 Towcestrians (a).
April: 2 Maidenhead (h); 9 Windsor (h); 16 Swindon (a); 23 (Trowbridge (h).