Rick Andrews has stressed the need for a good start to the season for Stowmarket Town if they are to challenge in the top half, writes Alex Moss.
The Old Gold and Blacks get their latest Thurlow Nunn League First Division campaign started when they host Leiston Reserves at Greens Meadow on Tuesday (7.45pm).
And ahead of what will be the club’s 12th consecutive season in the First Division, Stow boss Andrews has highlighted how he expects his newly-assembled squad to perform in 2016/17.
“We need to be up there challenging,” he said. “No one is getting carried away at the slightest and it is important we make a good start.
“I’m the most happiest I’ve been at this stage of the season since I’ve come here.
“The squad we’ve got now is probably better all round and it is far more balanced.
“This group of players are the type that when the game gets tough they are really going to dig in and I’m excited for the season to start now.”
Andrews did predict one or two players from last season’s squad would be moving on, but he could not have predicted how much of an overhaul his squad would have during the summer, as only four of the 16 players from his First Division Knockout Cup final squad have remained.
Baden Holmes (Woodbridge Town), Remell Davis (Sittingbourne) and Nathan Birch (Debenham LC) are among those to have left, while players coming through the door include Anton Clarke (Hadleigh United) and Lewis Higgins (Ipswich Valley Rangers).
n Guy Hayes begins his reign as Team Bury boss with trips to Woodbridge Town tomorrow (3pm) and King’s Lynn Town Reserves on Tuesday (7.45pm).