Football in Berkshire
Interviews

Bracknell Town and Thatcham Town fans preview the season

Supporters Paul McCrady and Matt Smith on the Robins and Kingfishers

Bracknell Town and Thatcham Town fans preview the season

Step 4 sides Bracknell Town and Thatcham Town finally kick off their Isthmian League and Southern League seasons after an extended pre season that see’s them start two weeks later than other clubs in Berkshire.

Bracknell Town head to Chipstead for their opening game while Thatcham welcome Willand Rovers to Waterside Park – the ground now known as the Stacatruc Stadium. The full weekend fixtures in Berkshire are here and find out how Football in Berkshire could pay for your ticket here.

Related: Bracknell Town chairman admits the club may have to ground share in the near future

Editors note: Both interviews were conducted two weeks ago prior to the clubs final pre season fixtures.

Don’t miss a kick this season, make sure you are following @fiberkshire on twitter for all the latest football news from across the county.

Bracknell Town FC

Division: BetVictor Isthmian League South Central Division One Last season finish: 2nd Manager: Sam Lock.

Fan preview by: Paul McCrady.

Sam Lock. Photo: Neil Graham / ngsportsphaotography.com
Sam Lock. Photo: Neil Graham / ngsportsphaotography.com

How has pre season been?

Good, although I missed first the pre-season game against Wealdstone. Squad looks to be coming together and starting to gel and they’ll be tough to beat this season. Hugely impressed with the Chairman’s vision for the football club. It’s an exciting time to be a supporter.

What’s a realistic aim for this season on the pitch?

I’d like to say promotion. That said there are quite a few new teams in the league this year so it’s going to be very difficult. We were a “small” team last year. I like the fact a lot of the players Sam has signed are physically bigger than some that have left.

Being positive, with a fair wind and a bit of momentum, where might you finish?

Top. Obviously depends on how things go with injuries, suspensions, cup runs etc. Bracknell always seem to have a wobble around Oct/Nov time. We have some tough games at that time again this year. If they come through that with a good set of results it should set them up nicely.

Achilles heel last year was general play. We were too naive going forwards and conceded too many goals. I’m hoping Sam and his team will make us more compact and harder to break down.

New signing you are most excited to see more of and why?

James Mulley. He covers loads of ground (very similar mould to Harrison Bailey). His experience will be key for Bracknell this year after losing James McClurg. As he’s also an ex-pro I’m looking forward to seeing him play this season.

Player you wish you could have kept hold of and why?

James McClurg, thought he was fantastic and we were a poorer team without him.

Which player do you expect to breakthrough this season and why?

Ousman Darboe. Been really impressed with him in pre-season.

Who do you see as your big rivals this season?

Chertsey. After winning the Vase last year they’ve made some key additions to their squad and they’ll be hard to beat.

You can only do one away day this season, what’s your choice and why?

Chertsey as it’s a ground I’ve never visited before and I think they’ll challenge Bracknell for the title.

Thatcham Town FC

Division: BetVictor Southern League Division One South Last season finish: 11th Manager: Danny Robinson.

Fan preview by:  Matt Smith.

Danny Robinson. Photo: Neil Graham.
Danny Robinson. Photo: Neil Graham.

How has pre season been?

We’re quite early into pre-season but so far everything is going well. The squad have certainly scored plenty of goals. Integrating the new players is key, as is staying injury free.

What’s a realistic aim for this season on the pitch?

With the signings made I believe a play-off spot should be the absolute minimum aim for this season.

Being positive, with a fair wind and a bit of momentum, where might you finish?

Should Thatcham Town get a good start and a settled squad then I genuinely believe they will go close to winning the league.

New signing you are most excited to see more of and why?

Felipe Barcelos looks the real deal. A lively frontman who knows where the goal is.

Player you wish you could have kept hold of and why?

Shane Cooper-Clark. A fans favourite and club legend who scores goals.

Shane Cooper-Clark playing for Thatcham Town
Shane Cooper-Clark. Photo: Neil Graham/ngsportsphotography.com

Which player do you expect to breakthrough this season and why?

There’s a few who will be looking for more involvement with the first team this season. Will Frank, Thierry Carrington and Callum Beasley all look talented and ready for the step up should they be required. Young goalkeeper Ben Morton looks like a capable deputy for Paul Strudley too.

Who do you see as your big rivals this season?

Umm, tough one. Moneyfields have been busy with new signings. Expect them to have a good season. As for local rivals then it has to be Basingstoke Town following their relegation last season.

You can only do one away day this season, what’s your choice and why?

Being a bit of a groundhopper it’ll be a new ground to tick off. Particularly want to go to Evesham.

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Tom Canning

Tom is the co-editor of Football in Berkshire. He has played at the lowest possible level of football. In real life Tom works for Reach PLC. Former manager of Binfield Ladies in the Thames Valley Women's League.

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