Upottery all set to join the big boys with Heavitree United first up
- Credit: Archant
Upottery are now less than a fortnight away from taking their place amongst the elite of local football clubs, playing in the Premier Division of what this coming season is to be known as the macron Devon and Exeter League.
Upottery boss Dan Prettejohn is highly satisfied with how his side has been working in what’s been a busy pre-season period.
He says: “The lads have been in twice a week, and where we have not had the same number of matches as in previous pre-season’s, we’ve been able to spend more quality time working on things on the training ground.
“We have also been boosted by some former professional players who have been in to put the squad through their paces.”
There is one notable absentee amongst the first team squad this season, an absence explained by Prettejohn who says: “We have lost Jason Kennard to Western League side Willand Rovers. Of course, losing somebody of his calibre is tough, but I could not be happier for Jason as he has made a big step up and, by all accounts, is settling well into his new environment. It speaks volumes for Upottery FC that we lose a player, not to another macron League side, but to a club paying a couple of levels above us in the football pyramid.”
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Prettejohn says: “It won’t be easy. That said we still have a certain Steve Morris in our ranks and prior to last season and Jason’s heroics in front of goal, Steve was the main man and I fancy he’ll be back amongst the goals this term.”
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The Upottery boss continued: “Its going to be a tough season ahead and I am under no illusions as to how tough it is going to be given where we have come fro and the fact that almost all the teams we meet are going to be established big hitters at this level.
“We do take great strength from the exploits of Honiton Town in their first season of top flight football last year and another side, in recent season’s to go up and shake a few folk, were Sidbury United, so we know we can go up and compete.”
The close season work at Upottery has not just been on the team and, anyone visiting Glebe Park in the past week would have seen a number of diggers there as the off-the-pitch work continues.
The villagers are increasing the size of their car park to accommodate the increases supporter numbers they expect now they are going to be playing top flight football.
Prettejohn says: “The challenge that lies before us is the sort of one that all players should be chomping at the bit to have put before them. Can little old Upottery stick the pace with the big boys? Who knows, but one thing you can be sure of, we are not going up to make up the numbers. Oh no, we are going into the Premier Division with our eyes wide pen and ready to have a go at it.”
Upottery launch their Macron League Premier Division campaign on Saturday week (August 20) when they travel into Exeter to meet Heavitree United and almost immediately – on the following Monday evening – they stage their first top flight game at Glebe Park with an East Devon derby at home to Seaton Town (6.30pm).