Smith wants Walsham to mimic ground developments

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Walsham-le-Willows manager Paul Smith hopes his side can match the outstanding facilities on offer at Summer Road, writes Greg Plummer.

Smith, starting his 16th season in charge, has seen the club make giant strides on and off the pitch during his time at the helm.

“We’re a village club but I’ve think we’ve got the best facilities in the whole league,” admitted Smith.

“This will be my 40th season in senior football as a player and a manager and I’d like to think we can make it an exciting one.

“I’d like to put a team out on the pitch to match the facilities here.”

Smith has admitted he is more than happy to give his players another chance heading into the new campaign.

The Willows under-performed last season, before eventually finishing 14th in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division standings.

But Smith has stood by his players for another term, saying: “The players could have walked away when we were struggling but they stuck by the club.

“They stuck by us, so as a manager I was prepared to stick by them and give them another crack. The players have remained very loyal to us and I’m optimistic we can do well.

“I think we can surprise a few teams and if we could achieve a top 10 finish then that would be an excellent effort.”

The Willows lost momentum just before Christmas last season after goalkeeper Craig Brand sustained a bad shoulder.

But with Brand now fighting fit again, Smith believes his side can hit the ground running.

“Craig is now fit again and I still don’t think we’ve seen the best of Alex Steed and Craig Nurse, who joined us from Bury, yet.

“They both arrived when we were struggling but they have trained hard and are looking sharp.”

In terms of outgoings, Tom Driscoll and Michael Barwick have both decided to accept an offer from league rivals Hadleigh.