Mark Moore says his Longlevens side is ready to take on a brand new season after a tough pre-season campaign.
The Levens first team manager admitted that whilst pre-season this year had been a tough one, he is happy with how his side have improved throughout.
“I am really happy with how it has gone, this year has definitely been a tougher pre-season. We have played some really tough teams and a local derby with Tuffley and it has geared us up well. We have been able to test the boys on all fronts and finished it all with a win against a very good Cribbs side last weekend.”
Longlevens finished last season in 9th position in the Hellenic Premier, their highest finish to date at that level. Over the summer the natural progression of the side has seen incomings and outgoing, leaving Longlevens with a competitive side full of youth and experience.
“All of the new players have settled in really well to be honest. That’s not only down to them and their attitude but also down to the squad for wanting to improve and accepting the fact that we need change.”
“We have some experienced players in the squad who all know how Longlevens works as a club. They are fully behind us bringing in the new crop of youngsters through helping us build on all of the hard work that has been laid over the last ten years.”
Moore though now finds himself stronger in that position and talked us through the options at his disposal.
“We have worked hard over the summer to make sure we have all areas covered. Losing Brad was a massive loss and we wish him all the best. But as a club we needed to move on quickly and the first job was to retain the services of both Shaun O’Connor and Myron Turner. That wasn’t easy as they gaining interest from higher levels and rightly so, but we sat down and spoke through our plans and they are both fully committed to the cause.”
“Elsewhere we have Isaac Johns, who we tried keeping under wraps last season as he is only just about to turn 17. He still has a lot to learn obviously but everyone can see his learning curve is on the up from soaking up all of the experience he is getting at a higher level. We have big hopes for Isaac.”
“We also brought in Adam Philp, which was the one that nearly got away. We spent a lot of time trying to get his signature. Obviously, he had a lot of interest from other clubs after scoring over 40 goals last season. We finally got our man though and he has fit into the group straight away. Hopefully scoring away at Cribbs has set him up for an efficient season.”
“Other than an already impressive quartet we have Craig Martin. He is Mr Longlevens himself and he has been there and done it all with the club. He is ice cold under pressure and one of the players that both the young players and the older heads look up to. He has taken Isaac under his wing and is helping him develop further. So even with a lot of options Craig still has a massive part to play in this Longlevens side.”
For the 2018/19 season Longlevens have revamped their coaching set up too. Throughout pre-season they had sessions with Titan Training and Nutrition and have brought in the experience of Darrell Long and Tom Callinan. Moore praised them for their positive impact in such a short space of time.
“We needed to freshen things up behind the scenes. Unfortunately Tim Hall decided to step away so there was a void to fill. The experience and knowledge that both Darrell & Tom have will be invaluable not only to the boys but me as an individual. They have already changed the dimension of the group and have boosted everyone and have done a great job of keeping everyone on their toes.”
Longlevens kick off their 2018/19 with two home games, Lydney Town on Wednesday (8th August) night and a curtain raiser against Flackwell Heath on Saturday 4th August. Moore said he was excited to start despite a few minor injuries niggling the squad.
“I really can’t wait to get started. We had our last training session tonight [Monday night] and all of the boys are chomping at the bit. We have great depth in our squad and even though we will be missing a few familiar faces in Dave Merrick, Jonty Welch, Ollie Long, Adam Phillips and Kieran Squires who all have slight knocks, our squad looks strong. It is a tough start but every game is tough in this league. We are ready to go.”
Longlevens vs Flackwell Heath is our featured game this weekend so follow our live updates on our social media outlets on Saturday, with build up from 2.30pm ahead of the 3pm kick off.