Thu, 15 Aug 2019
THATCHAM Town manager Danny Robinson is not getting carried away with his side’s pre-season ahead of the new Southern League Division 1 South season.
The new campaign begins on Saturday when Town host Willand Rovers in the opening game of the season.
The Kingfishers won five of their seven friendlies, drawing one and losing one and scoring 42 goals in the process.
And although it’s been a successful pre-season, Robinson is just happy his squad is finally starting to click.
He said: “The lads have gelled really well and the new players have also settled in really well so we’re looking forward to it.
“Results don’t really matter during pre-season, it’s all about getting minutes in the bank and making sure that you work on things that can lead into the first game.
“People will look at our results and also the amount of goals that we have scored, but nobody is getting carried away as the season is a long old slog.”
Robinson made sure that changes to his squad were completed as early as possible, allowing players time to settle at the club.
He said: “As soon as the final whistle went last season, myself, Darts [Andy Darnton] and Bowsey [Keith Pennicott-Bowen] sat down and realised what we needed to compete at this level.
“It all kind of fell into place quite quickly compared to last summer, because at this time last year players were still leaving.
“It’s been a tough pre-season – physically-wise one of the hardest – and the players have responded to everything we have put on.”
Willand, Thatcham’s opponents on Saturday, were promoted from the Western League last season after winning the title.
Robinson said: “We know Willand will be a tough game so we’re hoping for a very good start.
“I know little bits and pieces about them. They have Dean Stamp in attack who played and scored against us last season for Bristol Manor Farm.
“He is a terrific player and one of the best centre forwards in the division in my eyes.
“Willand aren’t used to losing so they’re going to want to carry on the momentum they had from last season.
“It’ll be a stiff test for us, but it’s one we’re very much looking forward to,” he added.
Having had a year’s experience in the Southern League Division 1 South, Robinson believes his side push on.
He said: “It was a big eye-opener last year and, truth be told, the squad we had at the start of the season wasn’t good enough to get where we wanted to be.
“We did remarkably well in the end to finish comfortably mid-table due to the player turnaround.
“We want to hit the ground running because we have built up a very strong squad and now we have been in this division, there is nothing to fear.
As well as changes on the pitch, there have been a number of changes off the pitch with the club renaming Waterside Park for the 2019/20 season.
Thatcham have signed a two-year deal with forklift dealers Stacatruc Ltd, who are based in Pipers Lane, Thatcham, and the ground will now be known as the Stacatruc Stadium.
Robinson believes it shows how far the club has come in the last few years.
“The guys behind the scenes have been fantastic,” he said. “They have been amazing – from the pitch being redone to sponsorship boards being put up, they have worked so hard over the summer.
“It’s now down to my staff and the players to try and repay the favour.”