Honiton Town boss speaks about the players' return to pre-season
PUBLISHED: 13:38 10 July 2018 | UPDATED: 13:49 10 July 2018
Honiton Town players are back in pre-season training and have all met the new management team of Kev Blackwell and his number two Nick Ogden.
Speaking about that first session, Town boss Blackwell said: “The first night was great. It was good to get back among the lads and see some old friends. Myself and Nick managed to have some what we considered really important conversations.
“I am very lucky to have a strong team around me. Myself and Nick work really well together, we are both fully committed to all things moving the club onward.
“Nick’s knowledge and experience is invaluable and he seems to know what makes a player tick and is a brilliant man motivator and a tremendous support to me personally.
“I am fortunate to have also hooked back up with current reserve team manager and third team managers John Lewis and Andrew Pike, we have proven to work well together and I hope to build on that as we move things forward as a club, but having their backing is also crucial as we try to achieve first team targets as well as club ones.”
The Hippos chief continued: “Coming back into the club, it is brilliant to see how it has been driven forward during my time away. As well as Nick, Roger Doble, the chairman has already proved his support for us, and nothing is too much trouble to enable us to do our jobs.
“We also have a strong committee, and along with Tish and Alan Mackay, who have proved their value to the club time and time again, Andrew Symons works so hard and is committed to promote the club and keep on top of the social media side which is a massive amount of work.
“John Connett continues to produce what I consider to be one of the best pitches and playing surfaces and Pete Farmer continues to do all the little jobs that will make my life easier on a match day. I will rely on them all massively, and I do consider that we are in this together as we try to build on last season’s tremendous effort from all involved.”
Town players are getting a little help in their efforts to reach peak condition with Kerrie Devine from Limitless Personal Training assisting in pre-season.
Town boss Blackwell says: “I must say that she was absolutely fantastic, and the lads responded brilliantly and I was really pleased with what Kerrie has done for the lads.
“It’s an online programme accessed through Facebook where the lads have five different sessions to do in the gym every week, coupled with some fairly hefty conditioning with the goal being they are fitter, stronger and most importantly match fit!
“Which means that we can use the remaining training sessions to focus on game strategy as the fitness is taken care of!”
The Town players will meet up once a week as a collective, but will, be expected to keep working on personal fitness levels in between the weekly sessions.
With regard to if he had plans to bring lost of new faces, Blackwell says: “To be fair, I don’t think that I am looking for a massive amount of changes in the squad. It’s always natural that there are a couple of changes - a few in and a few out.
“As I have already said, myself and Nick have had a some decent conversations with some lads who were at the club last season, and we are looking to add a couple more.
“Its important to point out that in this league where there is money being thrown around we are so fortunate to have a special group of lads, who are great mates, who want to play for Honiton Town.
The task for myself and Nick is to fully build on that spirit and comradeship which sometimes money can’t buy!”
With the first league match in the new South West Peninsula League Eastern Division kicking-off on Saturday, August 11, a new campaign beckons, and Town will play a number of warm-up games, starting with a trip to Exmouth Town Reserves next Tuesday (July 17) with the kick-off at Exmouth being 7.30pm.
Four days later the Hippos meet Heavitree United at Cranbrook (12.30pm) before a July 28 meeting with Beer Albion and an August 1, midweek meeting with Bishops Lydeard.
On the season ahead, Blackwell says: “There will be a lot of games this season, so we really be utilising the squad to its fullest extent this year. Myself and Nick are thrilled to be back in the thick of the action and I am hoping our enthusiasm for all things Town transmits across to the players.
What the Town players can expect from us is that we will expect them to work hard, but, just as importantly, we want them to enjoy playing for the club, express themselves and play with a smile on their faces.”
“There’s no doubt its going to be a tough campaign again, but both Nick and I are in this with eyes wide open. I was so proud to be the one who led the club into the South West Peninsular League, and I didn’t think that I would get the opportunity to return, but back we are and we shall be working very hard to ensure we can build on the excellent first year we had at this level.”
Finally, the Town boss said: “One thing I would add is that no mater if a player is in the 1st team or third team, we are in this together, three teams, yes, but, very much, one club.”