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Gary looks ahead to new season

Greensnet Editor
Wed 10 Aug 2016, 20:39

Gary McCann was bullish about the team's chances leading up to the opening game of the Ryman League Premier Division season.

Speaking after the 3-0 defeat of Tooting & Mitcham United in the final preseason friendly on Monday (the goals came from Dale Binns, Kezie Ibe and Andre Da Costa), Mr McCann first praised that performance.

He said, "We were excellent in the first half and scored some good goals. The second half was not as good, but that is often the way with all the changes. It disrupts the flow of the game.

"Some of the performances last night have given me a headache thinking of the 16 I will pick for Saturday's game."

On the subject of the campaign ahead, he said, "We have a really strong group of players. With everyone fit, healthy and available, I think this is as good a squad as I have had - when we are all fit we may be just one centre-back short.

"I think the Ryman League Premier Division is going to surprise a few people with the strength throughout it. Two seasons ago, there were us, Maidstone, Margate and maybe Dulwich who were clearly the best but last year I am not sure there was one clearly superior team.

"This season, there may be six or seven teams who will be in contention and I think we can be among them. I feel we can stand toe to toe with anyone in the League this season.

"It will, of course, depend on keeping the majority of the squad fit, or at least limit the number of serious injuries we suffer. That was the key to our great run two seasons ago and to our problems last season - we had 20 different centre-back pairings in our 56 matches in 2015-16 but Elliot Brathwaite and Charlie Goode were together in more than 30 matches the season before.

"I am quietly confident about the coming season. The boys have worked extremely hard in preseason. It was a deliberate policy to have a very tough preseason friendly schedule because I wanted it to be a challenge. We played some very good teams and they punished us for our mistakes, and the challenge is for everyone to learn from them.

"There are going to be some very unhappy people when I name my starting 16 on Saturday, but they have got to be patient. A few players need a bit more time and to get some more minutes into their legs before they will be ready."