Football is back. On Saturday afternoon the Hawks will be kicking off their Isthmian Premier journey at Margate’s Hartsdown Park. Pre-season is done and dusted, for now it is time for the real stuff to begin. We caught up with the manager, Shaun Saunders, to get his thoughts on the summer, and a Saturday that looms large.
Shaun, a new season is upon us. How are you feeling ahead of Saturday’s opener?
“I’m really excited. We’ve worked hard, it’s been a long summer, loads of games so we’re good and ready to go – looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead so yeah, can’t wait!”
Obviously a new league, tougher opponents…do you feel like you have the right group of players to stand up to the tests that await?
“I worked hard to recruit the players that we’ve brought in so I’m really pleased with what we got. We’re under no illusion that it’s going to be a tough league this year, but we know it’s where we wanted to be so we’re just looking forward to getting started.”
Pre-season in the books, are the positives to take from the past month?
“Yeah, definitely. Loads and loads of positives, I’m really pleased with how the group has interacted and it seems to be a really good group with another good changing room so I’m really excited and pleased with it.”
A few new faces through the door. Do you think the new players have settled in nicely?
“Yeah, they have. It’s like they were here last year! They’ve just carried on where we left off – we had a great changing room last year, and this one’s going to be every bit as good – there’s a good feel about the group.”
Onto Margate on Saturday, how big a challenge awaits your side?
“Yeah, it’s massive. I think any away day in this league is difficult, they’ll [Margate] obviously be very well-organised and like every game in this league away from home it’s going to be a tough one but one we’re really looking forward to.”
Kick-off at Hartsdown Park is at 3pm on Saturday, before the Hawks return home to host Hastings United ahead of Wingate & Finchley’s visit to The Enclosed Ground the following Saturday.