Reading City kick-off a new era in the Cherry Red Records Combined Counties League on Saturday when Southall visit the Rivermoor.
There’s no change in the dugout though with Simon Johnson in charge, assisted by Michael Butcher, Johnson hoping – we well know – to finally finish a season with the West Reading club!
Simon sat down and spoke to Football in Berkshire about the season ahead, here’s everything he said:
I’m quietly confident we can surprise a few people, we’ve made some good experienced acquisitions to an already good squad from last season.
I’ve heard Hanworth Villa are looking good, Ascot United of course will be along with Windsor. Southall, who we’ve got on Saturday have plenty of potential as well from what I’ve seen over the last few seasons.
James Pritchard joining the management at Windsor will certainly give them a boost.
It’s certainly a tougher division than the Hellenic Premier I think.
We’ve not made too many changes, we only played nine league games last season, but there are more clubs playing on artificial surfaces so that is in the back of our minds. We also know the London sides will be a little more physical so we made a point of that with the teams we faced in pre-season.
We’ve certainly got more experience on the pitch, Jemel Johnson coming in, in particular as well as Josh Baines and with Mitchell Parker we’ve got goalscorers.
In terms of youngsters, we’ve got a few pushing for places with Leyton Basterfield one to look out for as well as Jude van Spall who’s been around the club a long time.
Listen to the Combined Counties League preview with Rob Davies, Abi Ticehurst and Tom Canning below, or search Berkshire Football Stories on your favourite podcast app.