Thu, 16 Aug 2018
ALTHOUGH it’s been a difficult pre-season for Thatcham Town, manager Danny Robinson can’t wait for the opening day of the new season.
Kingfishers welcome Yate Town to Waterside Park on Saturday for their first game in the Southern League Division 1 South.
“I must admit with players in and out, it’s been hard work,” Robinson said. “I am looking forward to the season to start so we can get back to a bit of normality, with points up for grabs.”
Town finished their pre-season preparations with a 6-1 win against Aylesbury United on Saturday.
Robinson said: “It was nice to get the squad out that we will be starting the season with and it was our best performance of pre-season.
“Aylesbury are the same standard as us and I believe that we as a team are gelling nicely.
“It’s going to take a few games into the season for us to click into full gear, but we have some great players and we’re ready to rock and roll.”
The 32-year-old is aware of the fresh challenges his side face, having being promoted from the Hellenic League Premier last year.
He said: “We’re at a level now where if you don’t perform at home, you get beat and it’s the same away too.
“But we can only do as best we can and try to keep the momentum going from last year.”
During pre-season, Thatcham have faced the likes of Hungerford Town, Salisbury and Hayes & Yeading, and Robinson was pleased his side were tested.
“It has been tough, I must admit, but I wanted to learn more about the squad we have,” he said. “We are still in a very good position with the players that we have brought in and we are looking very much forward now.”
Robinson has reiterated on a number of occasions that a second successive promotion is what the club is aiming for this year.
“We want to get as many points on to the board as physically possible,” he said. “If you’re in or around the top of the table when Christmas comes then it’s a good opportunity to get into the play-offs – which is what we want to do.
“It is a test and a very big league – geographically and physically – and we are here to do as best we can and I am confident.”
The Thatcham boss admitted that goalkeeper Luke Cairney – a recent signing from Andover Town – has moved to Poole Town.
He said: “Luke has gone to play for Poole in the Southern Premier, but over the course of pre-season I think Chris Rackley has been outstanding.
“I said at the start that Luke came in to challenge his position and Chris has kicked on even further.
“He’s been number one for four or five years and he’s getting better.”
Robinson confirmed that goalkeeper coach and former player Paul Strudley has signed as the club’s back-up keeper.
When asked about any more new faces within his squad, the Thatcham boss said: “There might be one or two additions within the next week, but there is nothing concrete.”
After hosting Yate on Saturday, Kingfishers travel to Winchester City on Tuesday evening (August 21) for their first away game of the campaign.
Town then welcome Bemerton Heath Harlequins to Waterside Park in the preliminary round of the FA Cup on Saturday, August 25.