Tackling National League and a trip to Devon – Deakin aims to test Slimbridge in impressive pre-season schedule


Slimbridge co-manager Tom Deakin wants his side to be tested during their eye catching pre-season ahead of the 2024/25 Hellenic League Premier campaign, writes Sam Yapp.

The Swans boast an entertaining pre-season schedule facing National League side Forest Green Rovers, National League South’s Weston-Super-Mare, Hungerford Town of the Southern League whilst also facing Dartmouth, Stoke Gifford and Shortwood United. 

“We want to test ourselves against step one, two and three teams. The remaining fixtures are teams that we have built a rapport with and the Dartmouth one is a good excuse for a team weekend away. 

“Seven games felt the right amount for a pre-season schedule. Then we were invited by [Bishop’s] Cleeve to play and felt we couldn’t turn that one down, it was better for us then training,” Deakin said. 

Pre-season started three days earlier than planned with a trip to Bishop’s Cleeve who ran out 5-2 winners on Tuesday night before heading to the Recreation Ground on Friday to defeat Dursley Town 3-0 in a highly competitive affair. 

Both games gave the Swans’ management the chance to view where their current squad is at as they look to be highly competitive in the Hellenic League Premier next season. 

“Our performances in both games we have been happy with but there is still plenty to work on. 

“Two games in and we’re in a good place. From the outside we have lost a few players, but we’ve got players and staff ready and waiting to be announced. 

“This time last year we were giving minutes to players that we weren’t signing whereas this time round we have the squad built and ready to go so the focus on the next six games is building that group cohesion,” he said. 

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Cohesion will be a key factor for the Swans next campaign starting right at the top as Deakin and Adam Coyle head into their second full season as Swans co-managers. 

Heading into another season together Deakin was able to reflect on what the duo have achieved and learnt so far whilst also outlining what more they want to do for the club. 

“Over the summer we have worked hard with new additions and adjustments within the club to provide us with a better foothold for next season. A fresh outlook. 

“Last season was about putting smiles on faces around the club. This season there needs to be a ruthlessness within the squad for us to achieve what we want to. 

“We have said from day one that we would like to bring some silverware into the club and give us something to celebrate,” he said. 

Next up on the schedule for the Swans is a long awaited fixture with Steve Cotterill’s Forest Green side at Thornhill Park on Monday which Deakin says came about thanks to the clubs work over the last year. 

“The lads have had their eye on this one since it was arranged. 

“It’s something to look forward to as we haven’t had a step one club for a pre-season friendly for a few years now. 

“We’ve worked hard as a club to draw these kind of friendlies, so we feel we need to put on a good show to hopefully make it a regular game and create a good link with Forest Green and their supporters,” he said. 

Slimbridge take on Forest Green Rovers at Thornhill Park on Monday, July 8th kicking off at 7pm. 

Cover photo taken by and copyright to Brian Rossiter. Check out his Flickr account for all of his pictures by clicking here

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