Sidmouth Town boss speaks about pre-season so far

Ref mhsp 14 17TI 0258. Picture: Terry Ife

Ref mhsp 14 17TI 0258. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth Town manager Richard Pears is eagerly looking forward to the start of the ‘real action’ when his team travel to Axminster Town next Friday night (August 10) to launch their 2018/19 South West Peninsula League Eastern Division campaign.

Pears has been involved in countless pre-seasons since he began playing football and he has, in his CV, a pre-season with the late Alan Ball, the Man of the Match in the 1966 World Cup Final, this when Pears was what used to be called a football apprentice at Exeter City in the mid 1990s when Alan Ball was the City manager.

It will therefore be music to the ears of the Sidmouth Town faithful – and the club’s management committee - to hear Pears says of this particular pre-season: “It has rekindled my passion for football. It’s been a breath of fresh air since day one of being involved at Manstone Lane.

“Everyone has been so supportive, so helpful, so together, now it is time for me to repay that with some positive results out on the pitch.”

He continued: “This pre-season has honestly been like no other in recent times, and arguably ever in my footballing life. I have got 20 lads all champing at the bit, clearly all very capable of playing in a first choice Sidmouth Town team, but you know what? Such is the enthusiasm and competitiveness of the current squad that I honestly, hand on heart, do not still know which is going to be the 11 we send out onto the pitch at Axminster Town next Friday night!”

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Pears’ optimism about the coming season is founded on a pre-season programme that saw four wins out of four before last night’s final warm-up game against Colyton. Before that, the Vikings had seen off Wellington and Chard Town, Feniton and Topsham Town, the latter, beaten 4-1 thanks to a hat-trick from Ash Small and a goal from Louis Spalding.

Pears says: “The pre-season matches could not have gone any better and we are already clicking into the sort of football I want to see us play. Heading into Friday’s game at Axminster, you can never be sure that you will get the prefect team performance in the opening game of a new campaign, but what you can do is make sure you get a positive result and that is what is the most important thing about next Friday night – getting a result is paramount.”

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As for the season ahead, Pears says: “We are setting our sights as high as possible and that means we are targeting a top two finish and with it promotion to the Premier Division. That’s a bold statement, I know, but I also know I have a squad that is very capable of achieving that. My only angst, if that is the right word, is that I cannot use all 20 in that opening game. We are going to have to cut the playing squad down to 16, which means one or two very difficult decisions as to who to leave out.”

That said it’s very comforting to know the other Town teams are being run so efficiently and well and any players that turn out for any of the Town senior teams are being schooled in exactly the right way to improve their football – and enjoy playing the game.”

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