Mark Draycott: top marksman for Hungerford
THE final week of preparation will see Hungerford Town go into their final warm-up game at Didcot Town “ready to go” for the new season, according to manager Bobby Wilkinson.
Hungerford kick off their Evo Stik League Southern League Premier Division campaign at Paulton Rovers as 10-1 sixth favourites for the title, behind three joint favourites in Merthyr Town, Poole Town and St Neots Town, all quoted at 6-1.
Non-league giants Kettering Town and Weymouth are next in line at 8-1, according to BetVictor, although recent money has been placed on league newcomers Leamington.
Hungerford face Poole Town in their opening home game on Monday, August 10, but will first go to Didcot to fine tune at the end of a 12-game friendly campaign.
“We are ready to go now and its just picking the right team, and that is down to the players,” said Wilkinson, who has intense competition for places.
He has let one player go in veteran defender Matt Coupe, feeling that the 36-year old would not be able to dislodge Jon Boardman, Matt Day and James Rusby, who are all contending centre back slots with midfielder Mike Jones an able emergency deputy.
Thatcham Town remain unbeaten in pre-season and complete their friendly outings against Southern League North Leigh at Waterside Park on Saturday.
“We are gelling off the pitch and it’s just getting it right on the pitch,” said co-manager Danny Robinson, who has teamed with Gareth Thomas to revamp the squad over the close season. “It’s been a long, hard and difficult summer,” he said. “But we are happy with the squad and the lads who have come in.”
Thatcham kick off at Kidlington on August 8 and play their first game the following Tuesday against Abingdon United.
Tadley Calleva kick off at Romsey Town in the Wessex League on August 8 and on Saturday have Henley Town as visitors in their final pre-season fixture.