Today we caught up with Esh Manager Tony Boakes for the first in a new monthly feature. In this edition we look to the season ahead:
How has Pre-season gone?
The pre-season has gone as planned, we have held our own against the 1st division sides (Benfield and Consett) whilst giving plenty of game time to the new; and younger players in the squad. The most pleasing element has been good, retention based, football that we have played.
What are your realistic expectations of the season?
Mid-Table, the squad we have are more than capable of achieving that this season. The results towards the back end of last season showed a marked improvement, and we will be looking to build on that. On a week by week basis, work commitments will have an impact on the squad we field. The fact we have a good squad outside of the 11 will become key.
What can we expect from the players this year?
100% in everything they do, on and off the field.
Who is going to win the 1st Division?
With enforced promotion, I think the two teams that have shown an interest in promotion already in Consett and Bishop Aukland (who we take on in a pre-season friendly on Monday night) will be pushing all the way.
And the 2nd Division?
Blyth AFC, however Tow Law have assembled a very strong looking squad, if they gel and retain that squad they will go close. Outside of those two Heaton Stan always look a good side and will no doubt be up there again.
What are your personal targets?
A top half finish
Anything else you would like to add?
I cannot wait for the season to start, we have prepared well and we have some younger players who are desperate to make their mark. It should be an exciting season, and I am looking forward to it.