“There’s no pressure on us” insists Guilsfield boss, Nathan Leonard
Guilsfield boss Nathan Leonard believes that his side are more than capable of breaking into the top six again next season after a successful pre-season, but believes there is little pressure on his side next term.
Leonard led his side to one of their most successful campaigns last term, as the club finished 4th in the Huws Gray Alliance, ahead of Rhyl and just one point behind Airbus UK Broughton.
Their achievements would have surprised many fans, but Leonard is in a confident mood heading into the new season and believes his players can prove their doubters wrong once again next season.
“Yeah we are all really looking forward to it, very glad pre season is done and we can concentrate on some competitive games. The lads are up for it and want to prove people wrong yet again.”
Guilsfield were competitive in the second tier last term, and Leonard has developed a reputation as an up and coming manager in the Huws Gray Alliance.
The club picked up 15 wins in 28 games, and lost only five matches last campaign. However, things may be tougher this time round given that the side has lost key players Jake Cook and Asa Hamilton.
“Pre season has gone well; lads have worked very hard and are very fit once again. We have worked on different tactics and formations so hopefully we can push on again this season. We lost cookie and Asa but I knew that was always going to be the case with the seasons they had.
If players have the opportunity to better themselves and maybe progress I’m not going to fall out with them and stand in their way. Both enjoyed it with us last year so they know the door is always open for them here. Gaz Jones also left to take up a player/coach role at Caersws, which unfortunately we couldn’t offer him here again. He will be missed in and around the dressing room.”
But, the manager has managed to secure some key additions despite the departures.
The boss has added two players to his squad from last season, in the form of Steve Blenkinsop from Caersws and James Parry from TNS.
“Steve obviously brings a vast amount of experience at this level, he’s gained 2 promotions from this league so you can’t ask for much more than that. He’s a great lad, works his socks off and if we provide him with good service he will be up their with the top goal scorers in the league I’m sure of it.
James is the opposite in terms of experience but that won’t hold him back. He again is a great lad and has fitted perfectly into the group. I have high hopes for James and he is one to look out for this season, he won’t be fazed at this level and if he keeps working hard has the mentality to get into the 1st team squad at TNS in the future. This year will certainly develop him further and I’m very happy he is with us.”
But, all thoughts are on the club’s first game of the 2018-19 season against Conwy this Saturday.
Leonard is expecting a tough game against the outfit this weekend, but he knows his side have the quality to cause Conwy major problems going forward.
“Saturday will be very tough against a team who will be flying after last season. Winning the treble was a fantastic achievement and they will look to carry that momentum into Saturday I’m sure. It’s up to us to be organised, work hard and I know we have the quality to cause them problems. Like most games this season I expect it to be tight but also should be a good spectacle.”
With the addition of Bangor City to the league this season, Leonard knows the difficulties his side will face in replicating the success of last season.
He has acknowledged the top six may be beyond their reach this year, but insists his side won’t be far off the mark with the lack of pressure on his side heading into the new season.
“Top six will be a tough ask again for us, but there’s no pressure on us and I know we won’t be far away. Again we are expected to be in a relegation battle and be near the bottom end of the table. That’s suits us just fine, we’ll quietly go about our business again and I have every belief in the lads to again perform and mix it with the best.
We all want good cup runs, we were disappointed not to win anything last season and we know we let ourselves down in the league and Central Wales Cups. Hopefully we can put that right this season and enjoy a good year.”
FEATURED IMAGE: Danny Hilton