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Manager's Report - 6th July 2009

We returned to Pre Season training last week, and upon seeing the players and coaching staff again, It reminded me that I need to communicate a number of changes. After last season’s play off defeat, we looked at every aspect of the way we recruit, manage and coach. The best teams in the country are always looking to new ideas and ways of improving performance. Adam Parker is still keen to play after his operation in March. Whilst he looks to get fit as a player,  I have offered him the chance to become Player/coach to the 1st team, a position he has accepted. Parks has real experience, enthusiasm and knowledge of the game, and at 34, he wants to prepare for the days when he is no longer playing. He brings ideas and a different voice alongside Jon and I, and his influence is already evident in pre season.

Last year we had Paul Burgess assisting us with scouting duties. I have asked Paul to join us on a more formal basis to continue that role, and to assist with other aspects of the football side of the club. He has a good knowledge of players and teams at this level, and whilst we know the League well, and what to expect in terms of playing styles, the new teams in the League will present another challenge. We need to make sure we learn the lessons from the last 2 years, and that we use the play off defeat to motivate us to get a good start. Having a stronger management team will help us do that. Steve Hurd is still recovering from his illness last year, and we are not sure what commitment he can make as the season approaches.               

The playing squad reported back last week, and I am pleased to say we have retained the majority of the players. The first impression is that there is great atmosphere, they look in great shape, and mentally they seem ready for the challenge of going one better than last season. It has not been an easy time retaining players this summer. They get approached by other clubs, and ours are no different. We have changed some aspects of pre season work as we seek to take fitness levels to another level. The players have responded well to what has been asked of them, but they might not feel the same in another week!

The pre season games are all agreed. They have proved harder to arrange this year as we look to play games away from home to protect the pitch. We have a new grounds man, and the pitch is looking as good as I have ever seen it. The games will provide us the right type of tests we require as we look forward to the new season. I will endeavour to keep you advised on player movements as they happen.


Andy Leese (Manager)