Chatteris Town boss Ashley Taylor believes his side can reign victorious on rival territory as they begin their pre-season campaign tomorrow.
The Lilies tackle March Town at The GER on Thursday (7.45pm kick-off) in the annual Bill Salisbury Memorial Cup fixture, their first test of a five-match friendly programme, in which they seek to reclaim the prestigious trophy back from the Hares after losing 1-2 at West Street last summer.
Taylor’s men have only had three training sessions since completing their return season in the Kershaw Premier Division in May, but he feels this is not a major issue against higher opponents.
“I’m optimistic and will always go into a game believing we can win”, Taylor said.
“March are a few weeks ahead of us in terms of preparation, but the lads have kept themselves in good shape.
“It would be nice to win the cup for Bill Salisbury’s family and if we do win, it will be good for our confidence with March being higher-level opposition.”
Activity off the field is in full flow for Town, having lost two star players from last season in Craig Gillies and Aidan Hollis to King’s Lynn Town and Wisbech St Mary respectively in recent weeks.
We are looking at all options right now – Ashley Taylor
And Taylor is committed to looking far and wide to replace them, but also wants to utilise pre-season for other reasons.
He said: ‘The main aim is match fitness, but also cohesion in the team, working on patterns of play and building team spirit.
“It (Gillies’ and Hollis’ presence) impacts how we used to play, but we are looking at changing the way we play this season and if we get things right, we will be fine.
“We will be looking to improve our squad in defence, midfield and attack.
“I would like to bring in three new players, but this is never easy with a lot of competition to sign new players.
“We are looking at all options right now.”
Pre-season training for the Reserve Team has began, while sessions for the A Team get underway tomorrow.
Reserve Team sessions run every Monday and Wednesday from 7pm at West Street, with A Team sessions, from tomorrow, running every Tuesday and Thursday thereafter, same time and venue.
New and current players are all welcome.
Friendly schedules for both sides have yet to be confirmed.