CHRIS Symes believes there is plenty of grounds for optimism with Cornard United ahead of the big kick-off at Swaffham Town on Saturday (3pm).
Eight players have come in during a chaotic summer which saw the Braintree Reserves players set to play for the club withdraw after the link-up was axed the day before the first friendly after Rob Batten’s bid was accepted for the club.
But after Cornard finished bottom of the Ridgeons First Division last season by ten points having only picked up two wins and one draw, Symes, registered as jont-manager with Batten until the sale is completed, believes the miserable campaign will not be repeated.
“We do not have any intention of propping them up but we will do our best with amateurs and bargain budget players brought in from the Border League and hope we do better than last year,” he said.
New man Batten, the manager of Suffolk & Essex Border League Premier Division side Wormingford Wanderers last season, has brought midfielders or defenders Anthony Mills, Scott Lewis and Joe Pearce with him.
Also new to the club are experienced striker Matt Curtis (Walsham), 19-year-old right winger Nathan Rowe (Team Bury), centre midfielder Cordell Jackson (Team Bury), centre back Blake Panrucker (Holland FC) and Polish full-back Gregor Swiackowski.
Crucially, talented young goalkeeper Matt Walker has re-signed along with captain Mike Beckett and Romanian twins Liviu and Sergiu Halosta. Dave Chapman, thought to be the Ridgeons League’s oldest goalkeeper at 52, has also been signed on again, after playing a couple of games as third-choice keeper last season.
Symes, whose side drew 0-0 at Suffolk & Ipswich League side Grundisburgh 0-0 on Thursday before a 5-0 home defeat against Ridgeons Premier side Stanways Rovers with a depleted side at Blackhouse Lane on Saturday, said: “I have had to re-build the side completely and am optimistic as we did not have 18 to 20 at pre-season training last year and have had two away friendlies for the first time in ten years – before players would not turn up for it.”
Look ahead to Saturday’s trip to Swaffham Town, who finished two places above Cornard last season, Symes said to come away with a any result would be fantastic.
“It is always a tough place to go, up and down that hill, we have had some wins there but also some defeats so a point would be tremendous,” he said.