Boss looks ahead to season opener
Manager Paul Buckle believes his players are mentality and physically ready for the seasonal opener against Gateshead on Saturday.
The new-look Town side, that has no less than nine new faces, came through pre-season unbeaten and, despite having to deal with a number of injury problems, the boss is confident his team can hit the ground running against the Tynesiders.
“It’s a tough first game,” he told the media at his pre-match press conference on Thursday lunchtime. “Everyone wants to get off to a good start and we’re no different.
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“We’ve got three games in quick succession with the Kidderminster and Hyde matches following soon after, but we’re concentrating solely on Gateshead for now.
“After the pre-season we’ve had we’re going to be going full-on to pick up three points on Saturday.
“It’s not ideal playing Saturday, Tuesday, Friday, but the pleasing thing for me is that the players look fit and sharp.
“We’ll be taking what we’ve done in the friendlies into the league games . We’ve had different games against a variety of teams and come through them well.
“We’ll be positive – make no mistake. This season we will always be positive, to attack teams and try and win every single game.”
After the disappointment of last season’s near miss in the Play-Off final, Buckle is keen to move on from the Wembley heartache as the Town – once more league sponsors Blue Square’s title favourites – look to make it fourth time lucky this time round.
“I spoke about Wembley to the players the other day,” said the boss. “It hurt as did the manner of the defeat.
“Towards the end of last season the players here gave me everything. We needed wins to get us in the Play-Offs and we got them.
“We beat Wrexham over two legs but let ourselves down in the final. The Wembley experience gave me the chance to assess us in a big game environment.
“However, we have to move on. This is a new group of players who have all bonded well on and off the pitch.
“It’s a fresh start now and I’m pleased with the business we’ve done over the summer. There might be one more piece to come. It’s a possibility, but we don’t want to de-energise what we’ve achieved so far this pre-season.”
With a crowd of over 7,000 expected at Kenilworth Road to witness the opening fixture, Buckle knows how important a role the Town faithful can play in helping his side succeed this season.
“The fans have been brilliant,” he said. “And we are going to need them every week, every Saturday-Tuesday if we’re going to win anything this season.
“The key thing is to forget the past. I know it’s been a tough ride for the supporters over the past few years but let’s forget the past, let’s create a new history together.
“This is a brand new group of players and they are going to try their hardest to get the club back in the Football League.”