Following a busy week at the football club and the end of a long pre-season, manager Jamie Heapy took time out from posing for handshake photographs and taking a bit of training to sit down with us to talk about a few things ahead of the new season.
1) So Jamie, your first pre-season back at the club as manager has now finished, how do you feel it's gone on the pitch, from the first training session to now. Have you enjoyed being back at the club?
It’s obviously great to be back at the club. A lot of work has gone into planning pre-season and getting the players ready for the first game this Saturday. We’ve had many trialists to look at over the course of pre-season which has been encouraging and has given us the opportunity to look at a number of players who would fit into our identity.
2) And off it obviously there's been a lot of change, both in the dugout with yourself, Bedders and Andy Sinnott coming back to the club but also there's been a lot of players come and go, was that something you expected?
With regards to players coming and going, that was something I was expecting, as with any new manager that comes into a football club player personnel will always change. I’m delighted to get Paul and Andy on board to my management team, we are very lucky to have them both at the club. I’ve had some great times with them both as a player and coach over the years and hopefully, we can replicate this at Didcot over the course of the coming seasons. I must mention also keeping Amy (physio) and Tom (coach) at the club was a massive bonus so all in all, I’m very happy with my management team.
3) A few experienced players have left such as Adam Learoyd and Callum McNish, obviously big boots to fill but do you feel the new boys can do just that if not even better?
Obviously, the experience these players have is difficult to replace and they are big boots to fill but I believe the players that I've brought into the squad will be more than capable of proving their ability at this level. We have to be patient with them as some are young but the talent they have is unquestionable.
4) You've brought in a couple of players you know from Banbury Utd in George Nash and Mark Bell, are you hoping for them to be leaders within your young squad and what do you expect them to bring to the club?
Both Mark and George I've known and worked with for a number of years now, and I’m thrilled they have agreed to sign for the club. They’ve both played at a higher level and will help the younger lads develop over the season. Not only are they very good footballers, but they are also both great characters and it was important I brought the right type of player into the group. They will only improve the team and make us better. I’m sure the fans will enjoy watching these 2 play.
5)The Southern League Division One looks to be a competitive league again this season with some big teams and no doubt big budgets in there, what is a realistic target for Didcot this season do you think?
You’re right this is a competitive league again this season and there will be teams challenging for a promotion that have bigger budgets than ourselves but this doesn’t phase me at all. We will just concentrate on ourselves and make sure we’re prepared mentally and physically for each game. I think we’ll surprise a few teams this season and I’m really looking forward to seeing my team play but I’m not really into setting any targets, I know it’s an old cliche but we’ll take it game by game week by week.
Our fans will play their part in this too, so please continue to support the boys, and let’s see where this journey can take us.
Credit - Joffy Chinnock Didcot Town FC