Thatcham Town co-manager Gareth Thomas
IT’S been all change at Thatcham Town as they prepare for an assault on the Hellenic League title.
The Waterside Park club have brought in no fewer than 10 new faces as they prepare for the new Premier Division season.
And so far the newcomers have slotted in well as Thatcham have clinched friendly victories Locks Heath (9-0) and Mortimer (3-1) and Eversley (3-1).
Co-manager Danny Robinson admitted: “It has been a manic time.
“At the end of last season we felt we were not competitive in the squad and thought we had to bring in new players to bolster those who were already there.
”We have brought in players who wanted to play for Thatcham Town.
“But no-one has a divine right to play and that is the spirit and competition we have tried to create.”
One new player to make an immediate impact is striker Marcus Mealing, who has joined from Evostik Division 1 South West side Marlow FC.
He blasted five goals on his debut against Locks Heath and added another against Mortimer, providing the firepower that could prove crucial in the long Hellenic campaign.
Keeper Josh Cockrell has also moved from Marlow to provide competition for Chris Rackley, while Robinson is also excited about the capture of centre half Tom Moran, who played 30 games for Slough last season.
Also joining Town are Callum Willmoth, Mark James and Danny Lachacz (all Newbury), Brad Shaw and Tom Melledew (both Wantage), Josh Helmore (Reading Town) and Adam Morris (Thame).
Robinson, though, knows there is plenty of work to be done, even before the first Premier Division ball is kicked in anger on August 8.
He said: “Everybody at the club has been working hard behind the scenes to prepares for the new season.
“You reap what you sow, and no-one here is taking anything for granted.
“Manager Gareth Thomas, coach Declan Jacob, director of football Stuart Bailey and I have been bringing players in and helping out around the club and ground.
“We are not setting any targets for the season, other than doing better than last season when we were 12th.
“I think Kidlington will be right up there, and other sides who have been established in the division for a while could also challenge.”
As for Thatcham’s away draw to Premier League rivals Highmoor Ibis in the extra preliminary round of the FA Cup, Robinson said: “I don’t think you can get tougher than Highmoor away, even though we drew 0-0 with them twice last year.
“It’s probably the hardest draw we could have been given.”
Mark Thompson (2) and new signing Helmore were on target in Tuesday’s 3-1 win at Eversley.
All of Thatcham’s new signings will be on show next Tuesday in their first home friendly of the new campaign.
The visitors to Waterside Park will be Petersfield Town, who won the Wessex League last season and have been promoted to play in the Southern League.
Admission prices to the game are £3 for adults, and under 16 accompanied by an adult will be free of charge. All the new signings will be introduced to spectators before the match.