RUGBY: Huntingdon ready to rise to the promotion challenge as an exciting new era begins
- Credit: Archant
New head coach Reggie Reid hopes he can get Huntingdon moving in the right direction again.
Stags have dropped to Midlands Division Three East (South) after suffering back-to-back relegations in the past two seasons.
Club chiefs turned to Reid to arrest the slump following the resignation of previous coach Damien Whales, who had been in charge for a decade, at the end of the 2018/19 campaign.
And Reid, a former Stags player, is hopeful of a change in fortunes in the new season - which begins with a derby date against St Neots at The Racecourse on September 14.
Reid told the Hunts Post: "The players have all taken on the challenge well. They have embraced the change which was always going to be quite dramatic after Damien's tenure of 10 years.
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"I feel they have responded well to the new coaching team who have new ideas and a lot of recent playing experience at higher levels.
"The target is to settle the squad and get us playing good rugby while introducing more of the club's exciting young players into the senior game and having consistency at training.
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"If all of the above happen I believe promotion is a real possibility."
Reid has revamped the Stags squad with a number of new signings - including two sets of brothers.
The Peel siblings - Adam (back row) and Sam (prop) - have arrived along with scrum half Jack Edwards and his brother, Harry, a utility back.
Cai Oram has returned from university and Frankie Baldock is back after a stint in France, while Reid and fellow coach Duncan Low will also have playing roles.
There have been plenty of positives signs in pre-season with back-to-back 40-5 victories against Thorney and Peterborough 2nds.
Reid added: "We've recruited well and there could be one or two more signings before the first league game.
"The results and performances in pre-season have been very encouraging while being able to field players young and old.
"The hard work put in at training is already starting to bear fruit and fingers crossed we can only get better.
"We're expecting a difficult start against St Neots, especially as it is a local derby.
"The league is an unknown to many of us, but our challenge is to impose our gameplan on the opposition and ensure we play the way we want to play."