DIDCOT Town manager Andy Ballard cannot wait to see his new-look side in competitive action when they travel to Welwyn Garden City.

The Railwaymen finished pre-season in style last weekend, thrashing Moneyfields 5-0.

And Ballard is upbeat about the way everything has come together ahead of the big kick-off.

He said: “We’ve trained extremely hard over the last few weeks and I’ve been really impressed with the fitness levels and intensity shown in the games we’ve played.

“The lads are beginning to get the basics right and understand the way that I want them to play.

“We’ve put together a good mix of youth and experience but most importantly we’ve got a squad that works hard and pushes each other.

“We just want to get going now.”

Retaining Felipe Barcelos and bringing in former club captain Luke Carnell have provided a big boost for Didcot, who last season reached the Division 1 South play-offs and the Big Free Bet Challenge Cup Final.

Defender Ryan Markham has joined from Wantage Town, with midfielder Lance Williams arriving from Kidlington.

NORTH Leigh joint-manager Craig Dore admits they are heading into the unknown when they start their campaign at home to Dunstable Town tomorrow.

Only three of last season’s squad, who just avoided relegation from Division 1 West, remain at Eynsham Park.

But Dore and joint boss Darren James have kept hold of striker George Seacole, Brad Chalmers and Dec Shepherd.

“We thought we were going to lose George, but are pleased he’s decided to stay,” said Dore.

Despite having a vastly reduced playing budget, the Millers have recruited some promising youngsters, including striker Henry Landers and midfielder Jack Tutton.

Other signings include experienced Kidlington defender Ben Brown, who will captain the side, and Martin Griggs a prolific scorer from Princes Risborough.

“Apart from the three other Oxfordshire sides, we know little about the teams we play, but they won’t know us either,” said Dore.

“We have brought in local talent which has been ignored for a few years around here.”

A NEW era at Kidlington gets under way with a home match against Bedford Town tomorrow.

Ady Fuller, assisted by Joe Davies, will be at the helm for the first time after taking over as boss following Julian McCalmon’s resignation at the end of the season.

The former Banbury United midfielder is excited about the challenge that lies ahead.

“We will have a lot of new faces on the playing side as the majority of last years side have decided not to return for this season, which we found very disappointing,” he said.

“However, we have been busy building a new side here at Yarnton Road and are looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead of us.

“I am looking for my players to work hard, enjoy their football and have a winning mentality.

“I want the lads to put in a good performance against Bedford before we regroup and go again next Tuesday evening when we make the trip to Bromsgrove Sporting.

“Both these sides are very experienced at non-league level which will provide a tough start to our campaign, but I’m expecting my new team to be up for the challenge”.

THAME United boss Mark West knows goals could be an issue early in the season.

Last season’s leading scorer Lynton Goss has joined Harrow, while son of the manager Dan West is out with a pelvic problem, that may require surgery.

Thame’s opening game is at Sutton Coldfield Town tomorrow, and West is cautious about his side’s hopes for the season ahead.

“It’s going to be tough, there’s no two ways about it,” he said.

“We’ve added a few players, but we’ve lost some too, and Lynton leaving the club is a massive loss for us.

“With Dan also out, that’s 60 or 70 goals we had last season that we need to find.”

West has signed midfielder Duran Martin from Kidlington, while striker Marcus Mealing joins the club from Marlow.

Andy Gledhill, who missed the whole of last season with a groin injury, is slowly returning to match fitness, while Charlie Elliott has joined from Oxford City Nomads.

West said: “It’s definitely going to be a case of us being a bit more cautious the way we play compared with last year.”