We Can Manage Without Will - St Ives Bosses
READY TO GO: St Ives Town reserves, blue, lost 2-0 to Mildenhall Town reserves at Westwood Road on Saturday. Pictured is Neil McPhee. ANDREW McGILL email@example.com A REVITALISED St Ives Town are in bullish mood ahead of Saturday s season kick
READY TO GO: St Ives Town reserves, blue, lost 2-0 to Mildenhall Town reserves at Westwood Road on Saturday. Pictured is Neil McPhee.
A REVITALISED St Ives Town are in bullish mood ahead of Saturday's season kick-off, despite the loss of their influential captain.
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Saints face a tough start to their United Counties League Premier campaign at Holbeach on Saturday, and will be missing their influential captain Will Fordham, who has joined Corby Town.
Despite set-piece specialist Fordham's departure to the Southern League, joint-managers Jez Hall and Warren Everdell believe the club can succeed without him.
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Hall told The Hunts Post: "Will is a big miss for us. He was an important player on and off the field and we were sad to see him go. We all wish him success at Corby but we have still got the vast majority of the players who have been so successful here."
From last year's squad - which made the last 16 of the FA Vase - only Fordham, Barry Albone (St Neots) and Carl Mackney (Huntingdon) have moved on to pastures new.
Hall added that with the club's Westwood Road ground having undergone a summer refurbishment, he was hopeful of attracting more supporters to the club.
He said: "Simple things like improving the toilets and satellite television can make coming to the games more attractive and we hope that people in St Ives will come and support us.
"We saw what can happen with nearly 800 in the ground for the Vase game."
On the field, Saints have expanded their squad with Lawrence Church (Cambridge City), Ricky Dear (Huntingdon), Dean McCullagh (Biggleswade), Adam King (Needingworth) and Jon Gull (March Town United) all joining the club.
Also in the squad are Mark Stanniland and Ross Fairley, who have returned from college, and Nana Appieh-Adjei, who has moved to the area from Kent.
Hall said: "We will have really tough competition for places this year and our reserves are going to be a strong side this year."
Despite a magnificent FA Vase run, top-six league finish and Hunts Senior Cup final appearance, St Ives finished last season without a trophy, after winning three in a week in 2006-07.
Hall said: "We are looking to be up there in the league again and we want to win at least one of the Huntingdonshire trophies.
"The likes of Deeping Rangers, Long Buckby and Daventry Town will be there or thereabouts but we see ourselves as a dark horse."
Saints have warmed up for the season with victories over a Histon XI, Thetford and Enfield, plus narrow defeats to a strong Cambridge City side and a Rushden and Diamonds XI.
Hall said: "The pre-season games have been really encouraging and Scott Fielding has been in good goal-scoring form.
"The fixture compilers have given us a tough start to the season at Holbeach, who have one of the best forward lines in the league, which will test our back line."
After Holbeach, Saints play Potton United on Tuesday - a game which will be something of a local derby as Potton boss Dean Shipp has populated the side with many of his former players from Eynesbury Rovers.
Hall said: "We are expecting a big crowd for the game and it will be good to get the season going at home. We are raring to go.