Smith eyes up a hat-trick of top-10 finishes after mass-squad rebuild

FUTURE STAR: Charlie Webb has impressed in pre-season for Walsham
FUTURE STAR: Charlie Webb has impressed in pre-season for Walsham
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Paul Smith is still targeting a top-half finish this season despite having to extensively rebuild his squad during pre-season.

The Walsham-le-Willows boss takes his newly-formed squad to Ely City tomorrow (3pm) on the opening weekend of the Premier Division season, before visiting Thetford Town on Tuesday (7.45pm).

The Willows have lost several players during the summer, including defender Nathan Clarke who Smith pinpoints as being a big loss for the upcoming campaign.

“Nathan will be the biggest loss,” said the Walsham manager. “It’s not just his defending that we’ll miss.

“He’d give you 10 goals a season which we will have to find from somewhere else.”

Smith has brought in Nathan Birch and Dan Easlea during pre-season, with the former returning to Summer Road after two years at Thetford Town.

And 18-year-old Charlie Webb is being tipped by Smith to impress for his team over the season.

“Charlie is a young lad who has still got a lot to learn,” explained the Willows boss.

“But his work rate and effort is 100 per cent. He even came off the bench the other week and scored a hat-trick!”

The Willows begin their eighth season in the Premier Division tomorrow following back-to-back top-10 finishes which Smith is eager to continue this term.

“Although we’ve lost a lot of players our target is to finish in the top half of the table,” he added.

“We’ve got to rebuild and try to gradually progress as the season goes on.”