NON-LEAGUE PREVIEW: New manager and new squad ready for a new challenge at Huntingdon Town

Pictured are, from the left, Huntingdon Town captain Stuart Gillies, deputy mayor of Huntingdon coun

Pictured are, from the left, Huntingdon Town captain Stuart Gillies, deputy mayor of Huntingdon councillor Steve McAdam and Huntingdon Town chairman (and mayor of Ramsey) Doug McIlwain. - Credit: Archant

It’s all change at Huntingdon Town . . . again.

New Huntingdon Town manager Daniel Woodhead with the Mayor's Cup.

New Huntingdon Town manager Daniel Woodhead with the Mayor's Cup. - Credit: Archant

The Jubilee Park club find themselves in the familiar position of going into a new season with a new manager – and this time there is a completely new playing squad too.

Not a single member of the side which finished 12th in Division One of the United Counties League and reached the Hinchingbrooke Cup final under Jimmy Brattan last term now remains at Town.

It means that boss Daniel Woodhead’s first managerial post at first-team level has become a whole lot harder than it initially looked set to be . . . and it was already a tough gig!

He has succeeded in assembling a new group of players (despite some pre-season injury hitches) and has already secured silverware – although Town will have to perform better in league action than was required to beat lower-level Ramsey Town in the now traditional Mayor’s Cup pre-season fixture last Wednesday.

Huntingdon host United Counties League newcomers Aylestone Park this Saturday in their season-opener and Woodhead said: “It’s obviously unusual that not a single player has stayed at a club from one season to the next.

“I did speak to the lads who played for Huntingdon last season, but I pretty much knew the answer would be ‘no’.

Most Read

“It’s clear something happened before I arrived and it’s up to those players where they play their football. All I can do is look forward with a new squad.

“We know we’re probably going to have a tough start, but the aim is to get stronger as the season progress. We need the lads to stick together and buy in to what we’re asking of them.

“We have to take things day by day and game by game. Results are what matter in non-league football and hopefully we pick up plenty of points as the season goes on.”

Six of Huntingdon’s players from last season are now at Division One rivals Raunds under another of the club’s former managers – Bob Warby – while another four have stepped up to Premier Division level at Peterborough Northern Star. Others are expected to pop up in the Cambs League once the new season begins at that level.

Of the new arrivals, many have been at Potton at either first-team or reserve level in the past. Striker James Wills, who hit 31 goals for that club’s second string, last term is among them.

Midfielders Nathan Field and James Freshwater have both represented Eynesbury in the Premier Division in the past although an ankle ligament injury to the latter is likely to rule him out of the opening few weeks of the season.

Woodhead is also thankful for the help of a former Town boss. Current St Ives chief Ricky Marheineke has been a useful ally during the summer months.

Woodhead added: “Ricky has a lot of love for his hometown club so I approached him to hope to build a relationship.

“He has helped me out with two players already and has also provided a few other possible lads too.

“Assistance like that is really appreciated. Ricky has replied to every one of my messages and has been a huge help this summer.”

Adam Gaffney scored the Town goal in their Mayor’s Cup triumph, but he’s not a player who will join the club due to financial demands.

Huntingdon are hopeful that their new reserve side will be able to take their place in the Peterborough & District League despite the departure of manager Tom Beach after only a few weeks in the post.