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Willmoth confident ahead of new season

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Hungerford Town midfielder Callum Willmoth is targetting "three points at the Bulpit" ahead of his side's first National League South fixture of the season on Saturday at home to Concord Rangers.

Hungerford then face a 155 mile trip to Dover's Crabble Stadium and a visit to scenic St Albans before a return home to face Eastbourne Borough on August 20.

It follows a strenuous pre-season schedule that has seen the Crusaders face League One's Oxford United, League Two's Newport County and National League sides Maidenhead and Eastleigh.

Willmoth has been a regular in Town's midfield
Willmoth has been a regular in Town's midfield

"It's been tough, very tough, the gaffer always works us hard in pre-season," Willmoth said.

"There's been a lot of fitness work but also a lot of work with the ball, so a good balance, but it's been difficult, it always is under Robbo.

"You have to put in the hard yards, we're looking sharp, it's been a good pre-season.

"It was a great challenge to play teams from a higher level, full time teams, we were able to focus on what we do off the ball and our defensive shape."

Ryan Seager, who was the Crusaders top scorer for the past two seasons, made the summer switch to National League new boys Dorking Wanderers in June while Sol Wanjau-Smith, who was voted last season's young player of the year, has moved to Kent outfit Maidstone.

Willmoth celebrates with Ryan Seager and Sol Wanjau-Smith
Willmoth celebrates with Ryan Seager and Sol Wanjau-Smith

Goalkeeper Luke Cairney signed for Southern League Premier Division South side Poole Town while veteran defender Keith Emmerson left to join Dorchester Town.

"They're massive misses, of course, a lot of goals to replace," Willmoth, who has also played for Swindon, Thatcham and Newbury, said.

"We've lost a bit of the spine of the team from the last couple of years but the gaffer has brought in some really good new additions, so I think we're in good shape.

Last season's top goalscorer Rayn Seager has moved on to Dorking Wanderers
Last season's top goalscorer Rayn Seager has moved on to Dorking Wanderers

"The new boys have been really good, I think they know what they're signing up for when they sign for Hungerford.

"It's not like any other club in the league, it takes a certain character to come and play for us.

"People do their talking with the football at their feet, I'm liking what I've seen from all the new lads at the moment."

The Crusaders are preparing for their seventh consecutive season at this level, and will once again look to defy the odds with the league's smallest budget.

Willmoth said: "It's 11 v 11 at the end of the day, it doesn't matter how much your opposite number is getting paid, it's man v man.

"We're not at the club for money, there's not many players that care as much as us."

Willmoth is a combative and smart midfielder
Willmoth is a combative and smart midfielder

When it comes to preparations, boss Danny Robinson has left no stone unturned ahead of the new season, but Willmoth isn't giving too much away.

"The gaffer and the boys do their homework, we'll analyse the opposition and ourselves in depth," he said.

"We know what we've got in house, we know how good we can be on our day.

"Obviously the main thing is to stay up in this league and keep punching above our weight.

"We do set some targets, but I'll get told off by the gaffer if I give too much away!"

As the new season dawns, then, so too do new expectations, hopes and dreams – for Hungerford Town it's about keeping the National League dream alive, wherever that might take them.

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