Saffron Walden Town FC hoping for an improved season in Ridgeons League

PUBLISHED: 09:42 05 August 2010

Greg Strong

Greg Strong

Archant

SAFFRON Walden Town Football Club boss John Butchart, believes his side are in great shape ahead of their first competitive game of the season on Saturday.

SAFFRON Walden Town Football Club boss John Butchart, believes his side are in great shape ahead of their first competitive game of the season on Saturday.

The Bloods pulled off a convincing 1-0 win over Spartan South Midland League side Bedford FC in a pre-season friendly on Saturday.

A sprightly Spike Bell scored the only goal of the match after being set up by defender Jamie Solkhon after eight minutes as the visitors looked to play their style of fast, attacking football.

Butchart is hoping that his team can use their pre-season form to give them a good start in the Ridgeons League First Division when they take on Diss Town at Brewers Green Lane at the weekend.

“It will be a tough challenge for us, but I think we’re in better shape now than we were last season,” he said. “The lads have been working really hard in training and they’re looking strong.

“Last season I felt we underachieved, so we’ll definitely be looking to put that right. We have enough talent in the squad to beat anyone on our day.”

Saffron Walden finished their last campaign in the eighth spot, below their first-game rivals Diss Town who finished in fifth. Butchart believes his side suffered because of the disruption to the schedule caused by the weather.

This season Catons Lane will welcome back a few familiar faces including Matt Danbury, Steve Leys, Martin Clarke and Joe Murphy to strengthen the squad. Departing the club is the players’ player of the season Greg Strong, a versatile left back and midfielder who has joined Haverhill.

Butchart is confident that the loss of Strong will not be a significant blow to the club due to the return of Murphy who he rates as a better player.

The Bloods have held on to most of their players who performed well last season, including golden boot winner Brad Green who will hope to repeat the feat in 2010/11.

Butchart said: “We’ve got a big aerial presence in the squad with a number of our players over six foot so that should give us an advantage winning the ball in the air.

“Goalkeeper Ronnie Yates has had a season at the club and he’s looking good, he’s got more experience. I think he will do better for us this season. And Spike and Mitchell Das are both on form – hopefully 
they can keep up to this level through the season.”

The Bloods were due to play their first home games against Godmanchester Rovers on Wednesday, but this will now be played away. The pitch at Catons Lane has been reseeded and should be ready by next week.

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