As part of our series of conversations with Hellenic League managers, we sat down with Sandhurst Town boss Luke Turkington to discuss the Division 1 East season ahead and his plans for a second season in charge at Bottom Meadow.
It was obviously Sandhurst’s first season in the Hellenic League, how do you feel it went? (am I right in remembering it was your first as the Fizzers manager?)
Yes it was my first year with Sandhurst.
The standard of football is the same, but the style of football played in the Hellenic is different, and we found it quite tough to adapt to the style of play. Last years position in the league was a fair reflection of where we were, we drew too many games last year. So having that year in the Hellenic, we’re hoping to improve on last years standing.
What were your highlights of the season?
There were many to choose from last year, particularly in camp, but the ones that sticks out for me last year was travelling away to league above side Royal Wootton Bassett in the cup, coming from 2-0 behind to win the game 3-2. That was a good feeling to know that we on our day had the potential to compete against higher opposition.
On to the season ahead. We’ve seen a few of the issues at Bottom Meadow this summer unfortunately, but what does the season hold for Sandhurst? Do you have any targets?
We’ve had some unfortunate business off the field recently, which gives me the opportunity on behalf of Sandhurst Town to thank you guys and everyone else that has rallied together to help us out. We really appreciate it.
For this season, we would like to improve on last years position. If we do that, it’s a successful season. But we like every other club is there to go an win the league, so we will be aiming for that.
You had a very successful youth team last season, will expect to see a few of those lads move in to the first team?
The natural progression for youth will be to play men’s football, and with a team that won the Allied Counties Premier league, they are all on the right path to break into first team football.
Talking about the league, what clubs and managers impressed you last season?
The clubs we played above us last season in the Hellenic league being Wootton Bassett and Binfield, they gave us respect and approached the game no different to playing a competitive league match. The players could then see what it takes to get to that next level, so we appreciated that. The managers from our league were all welcoming and will be good to face them again this year.
What areas of the team are you looking to improve this coming season? Looking at the league table you were one of the lower scorers but had a decent defensive record (might have answered my own question there I realise!).
Hit the nail on the head there Tom!
We made the chances to score last year, but weren’t able to convert them into goals. But there’s always room for improvement all over the park so that’s what we intend to do this season. Everyone at pre season starts at level 0, and it’s up to the players to each fight for a place.
Final question, any particular player have high hopes for next season?
I hope that each player we have at the club can step up again on their personal developments and squad goals. If they can do that then we will be happy. As a club we need to step up again and reach as high as we can in the league. I’m sure it will be as competitive this season as the last so we need to be ready to compete and hopefully make a challenge to take this club to the next step.
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Main image: Luke Turkington by Mark Pugh.