FOOTBALL: New boys Wantage ready for journey into unknown

Wantage Town have taken defender Matty Jones on a month's loan from Swindon Town

Wantage Town have taken defender Matty Jones on a month's loan from Swindon Town

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Wantage Town assistant boss Andy Lyne says consolidation is the aim when they take a trip into unchartered waters, starting with tomorrow’s home baptism against Taunton Town.

Last season, Wantage were promoted to the highest level in the club’s 122-year history after clinching the Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division title.

The new boys kick off their season tomorrow when they host Taunton Town.

But Lyne, 61, feels Southern League Division 1 South & West will prove a much tougher proposition.

“We want to build on what we did last season,” said Lyne. “We want to become a reasonable Southern League side.

“We’ve got to be realistic – we’re competing against teams with a far bigger budget than ours.

“It’s about consolidation this season and it would be wrong to say anything other than that.”

While it’s a new adventure for the club, former Witney Town manager Lyne and first-team boss Gary Ackling, who managed Thatcham Town, have been there before.

“It’s not new ground for us, but the players have to adjust to it – it’s a whole new ball game.”

Lyne added: “The biggest problem that Wantage has is that it’s a small club and it is their first significant promotion.

“The chairman (Tony Woodward) has done well to get the position the club is in now.

“But we’re not just there to make up the numbers. We will go in with what we have got player-wise and then fine-tune it.

“We’re both looking forward to the season starting.”

Among their summer recruits are centre-backs Jon Steedman (ex-Oxford City), former North Leigh and Thame keeper Lee Farrow and midfielder Matty Johns.

In addition, Gavin Kidd and Sam Barder have been promoted up from the reserves.

Left back Matty Jones has joined on a month’s loan from League One Swindon Town.

IN: Steedman, Johns (both Swindon Supemarine), Farrow (Thame Utd), Millward (Flackwell Heath), Ricio, Cottrell (both Abingdon Utd), Shaw (Hungerford Town).

OUT: Butler, Rowe, Younie (all Abingdon Utd).

Tomorrow’s squad

Wantage Tn (v Taunton Tn): from Farrow, Tucker, Kidd, Steedman, Millward, Cattell, Jones, Sadler, Riccio, Pedder, Melledew, Deabil, Roberts, Guy, Johns, Lechacz.

Banbury United start their Premier Division campaign at home to Poole Town.

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