New Town All Stars made the debut last season and after a slow start to the season, picked up some good wins and established themselves as a challenge for most teams in the league.
Manager James Aghabi has mixed his squad up with a combination of existing players re-signing whilst employing the services of a number of new players to join his team.
With a fresh season, comes fresh ideas and focuses and Aghabi is hoping the teams short cup run last season will be replaced by a cup final run this year.
We spoke with Aghabi about his experiences from last season and his goals for the new one ahead…
Q: Last year was your debut season in the #SDFL. How did it go from your view point?.
It’s hard to start a new team in any league but particularly in such a competitive one as it was last season.
I only took over mid August so gave us two friendlies to organise, trial players and sort out a team for the opening game. This was shown in our first result which was a thumping by Lower Stratton.
We started to acclimatise better throughout the season but numbers were a struggle and, the school boy error on my part, was to sign on too many players who couldn’t commit due to work or family commitments.
A mid table finish 20+ points above the bottom team was a big achievement and I was proud of our first season.
Q: Pre-season is well underway for most clubs. How has pre-season gone for New Town All Stars?.
Pre season started with 3/4 weeks of training followed by our first friendly today which was a 4-2 win over North Swindon. Pre-season and friendlies are times to trial all players and new formations. We did this and didn’t let numerous changes deter us from getting our win.
We have some tough pre-season games coming up which will show the spirit of my players, both old and new.
Q: Will you be looking to add to your squad for the coming season and if so, what are the key signings you have made so far?.
We’ve re signed 11/12 players from last year like James Lewis, Adam Blakeman, Jamie Bain and Captain Tom Wilde. We’ve signed on 9/10 new ones so far and all these players have good experience at teams like Wantage, Fairford and some players from good teams from last season like Pinehurst.
Mikey Mclusky and Luke McDonagh are two I’m expecting big things from this year as well as Adam Burson. Adam scored goals for fun when he was available last year and we’re hoping for him to play more than he misses this season. If he can do that, he could be a real game changer for us.
Q: After a finishing in a respectable mid-table position in your debut season, what are the ambitions and expectations for this season?.
Obviously our ambition is to win the league and any competition we enter. We didn’t make a cup run a high priority last year due to lack of players but I’m hoping that will change this season.
I think our best squad will compete with any team in the league and our aim is to keep everyone available and fit so we’re full strength whenever we can be.
Q: Who do you think will be pushing for top spot come the end of the season?
I’m assuming the recently relegated teams North Swindon and Village Inn will be up there, Redhouse’s results have looked good and Chiseldon have a great squad and are under new management, so could be ones to watch.
I’m always backing ourselves though. It’s going a tough, competitive league, as per usual, and we can’t wait to get started