The 2018/19 season is rapidly approaching, and the preparation plans are well underway. I have had conversations, and offered terms where appropriate, with nearly of the players from last season and I expect to conclude those conversations in the next 2 or 3 days. I will then be in a position to update you all on who will be staying at the club for next season. I have also targeted players I’d like to add to us next year, and plan to have the conversations over the coming week or so, again I will update when appropriate. The pre-season fixtures will also be released shortly.
One of the most important components of any successful team, is a strong and cohesive backroom and I am pleased to confirm the management team that will be working alongside me for the coming season:
Eliot Whitehouse – Player/Assistant Manager – Following an initial conversation with Eliot, there was desire on both sides for him to resume playing and to combine it with the coaching duties. From Eliots perspective, he is still ahead of what would typically be regarded as his peak years and therefore still has a lot to offer. From my angle, to have another experienced, voice and leader on the pitch is something that I have been looking to add to the squad for a while.
Whilst we are still to sit down and fully flesh out exactly how it will look, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect him to focus on his fitness and getting back up to speed during the pre-season. Post that we will establish a rhythm and balance that works for all concerned.
Phil Brown – Goalkeeping Coach – I’m delighted that we are able to retain Phil to continue the excellent work he has done with the goalkeepers. I think the improvement and consistent level of performance from Simon Grant is there for all to see and a large part of that is down to the quality work that Phil does with him.
Josh Morrison – Player/Coach – Josh is an experienced and influential voice in the changing room, and I wanted to both recognise and leverage that by adding him to the staff. He is a trusted sounding board for many of my thoughts and with the energy and knowledge he brings I know his contribution will be significant to us this year.
Roy Hanley – First Team Coach – I’m extremely pleased to welcome Roy back to the club. Roy worked on the staff with me at Reading Town and then Marlow, before working a coach at Newbury and Oxford City Development, as well as the first team manager at Henley Town. Roy understands my philosophy and how I work and therefore will be a seamless addition to the team.
As always, our pre-season programme will be based on the thoughts, approach and training concepts of Laurance Kingsbury, and I thank him in advance for his continued assistance. His understanding of the physical demands that will be placed on the quad throughout the season and his extensive knowledge and track record for training athletes means that we are extremely lucky to have the benefit of his expertise.
We are also currently looking for a First Team Physio/Therapist, and any interested parties should contact either the club or myself.
That’s all for now, but with regular updates to follow in due course.
Updated 17:00 - 6 Jun 2018 by Mark Bartley