Ashford United 3rd's September Round-Up

Ashford United 3rd's September Round-Up

By Benn Phillips
11 October
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Manager Roger Hadlum gives his opinion on the start of the 2019/2020 season.

How has pre-season and the beginning of the 2019/2020 Season been with the AUFC 3rds?

I was pleased with the Pre-season training schedule. We played 6 friendlies winning 4, drawing 1, losing 1.

We opted to play against teams from a higher division which had its benefits but doing that also has its downside which we found when playing Bromley Green 1st team who took us apart but you learn from those games.

During that time we brought several new players into the team that have settled into our way of playing and have added certain qualities that we felt the team was lacking.

We also lost a couple of players which you always do in pre-season but you cannot afford to worry about that.

The first month of fixtures have been and gone and we have had time to look at how the team is shaping up.

Our first game against Charing FC was also our first game at Homelands and ended with us taking all 3 points as we beat them 7-0. We could not have asked for a better start to the season.

Our second game was away to Pilgrims FC which we also won 6-1. Two games down and both with high scores had us moving into the over confident zone and that's a bad place to be.

In our third game, which again was against Pilgrims, we expected to pick up another 3 points but as I have already said we were in the over confident zone and they were ready for us. They played well and we did not have an answer to their game plan and the game ran out 2-2.

7 out of 9 points is a good start to the season for us and so far I am happy with what I am seeing but there is room for improvement.

With Richard Johnson joining your coaching team, he has been working on fitness and positioning within the team, the 3rds are looking a lot fitter this season. How will that help the team throught the season?

Now that Richard Johnson has joined the coaching staff I have been asked about the effect that this is having on the squad.

This is a very difficult question to answer when you consider that we have only played three games.

My Assistant Manager Sean Corps and I sat down two seasons back and took a very hard look at the 3rds and what we wanted to achieve with the team.

At the same time I had been having chats in the bar with Don Crosbie and when he suggested that we should play our games at Homelands we saw our chance of finally being able to achieve something for the team and for the club.

What we wanted to achieve was to take the 3rds up to the Premier Division of the Ashford and District league while at the same time providing players for the 1st team and the U23's.

Don Crosbie's offer of letting us use Homelands as our home ground was the first step. Our next step was to mirror the set-up that the first team has.

Sean Corps and I are both FA Level 2 qualified coaches but we realised that this is not enough for a club the size of Ashford United.

We decided that we needed two more coaches a team coach and a goalkeeper coach. Richard Johnson fitted the bill as team coach and we believe that we will soon have a goal-keeper coach joining us.

This allows Sean Corps to concentrate on being a player/coach which is a valuable option to have on the pitch when the game becomes difficult and messages need to go back and forth from the pitch to the Manager and coach.

Sean is a CB and alongside him is Kyle Galea who is also a coach and Manager of the u16's and u18's. So when they are together in a game they are both able to coach and play at the same time.

So my answer to the question is that everything seems to be falling into place, although it will take a little longer to gel.

The squad has been enthusiastic about our plans and working well with Richard so we are getting there slowly but surely.

Finally? Where do you think the 3rds will finish this season?

Where do I think we will end up in the league this season?

Again this is a difficult question to answer. I would love us to win the league and some silverware but that is the dream of all the Managers in our division.

Realistically we have a chance of promotion and we will give it all we can.

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