Following on from Boakesy’s Blog on Friday we have caught up with club captain Max Stoker before he embarks on his third season with the Club.
How have you found this pre season?
Firstly I would like to welcome all the new lads to Esh Winning FC, and extend my thanks to the lads that have stayed on from last season, including Tony and Jackie.
Pre season has been a bit of a mixed bag, we have seemed to play better football against the stronger teams. We are certainly looking more comfortable on the ball across the pitch, this will benefit us more this season as we will be looking to outplay a lot of teams whilst still being able to battle and hold our own physically. We have been a bit lacklustre against the so called lesser teams, and a lot of changes in these games haven’t helped in those matches, although it has allowed us to get all the squad into good habits and fitness for the season ahead. Of course me missing one of these games to be a groupie for Little Mix didn’t help the lads!!
What is a realistic expectation for this season?
Only time will tell if we can pick up where we left off in the last few months of last season. If we do and utilise the home advantage there is no reason we cannot aim for the top half. The first priority is to secure survival with up to 4, possibly 5 teams facing relegation this season.
Who will win the First Division?
Tonights opponents (Bishop Auckland) or Consett both look very strong from a distance, and both command large budgets and exceptional facilities.
And the Second Division?
Blyth are my top pick and look strong, Tow Law have a strong side this year alongside a huge home advantage with their pitch. The surprise package may be a resurgent West Allotment looking to bounce straight back.
What can we expect from the players and yourself?
Respect for the club is a must, the league also. Honesty and 100% in every single game we play. On and off the pitch they will be committed to the club, and everyone involved, that is all that I can ask. “Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn’t work!” is the ethos of this team this season.
What about yourself, any other personal targets?
I want more goals this season, my target is 10+ league goals and help the lads along. This is my 8th season in the Northern League alongside a further 2 at Evostick Level, so I have seen it all……… well apart from Jackie pulling his shirt up and doing a Kilnsmann down the line, which I pray I see this season!
Cheers Max, all the best for the season.
Come and join us tonight to see how the team has progressed in our last preseason against Bishop Auckland, 7:30 kick off.