Article by Luke Lambert: Harry Wheeler says Billericay Town’s players need to reach the required intensity quickly if they are to win a place in his team come the first game of the season.
Town returned to pre-season training on Tuesday, with new boys Callum Kennedy, Joe Ellul and Connor Hunte among those put through their paces.
The Essex outfit are also closing in on a deal to sign a versatile National League defender, following the departure of Matt Paine, with a deal expected to be confirmed over the weekend. Former defender Tambeson Eyong has also joined on a non-contract basis. And with the new National League South season just 36 days away, Wheeler says the group need to show that they are ready to go.
“The lads know they need to be in shape as they have five weeks to get into the team,”
Said Wheeler, who was appointed first team manager at the end of the season.
“The intensity really impressed me and it was a very positive first session on Tuesday. Last year we applied ourselves as though we were playing the best in the league every week and that will be the case this time around. The team is committed and wants to enjoy another good year.”
Wheeler confirmed Town’s one outstanding signing was in response to Paine’s unexpected departure, with his new job in the police force meaning he cannot commit to football in the second tier of non-league.
“We want a squad of 19 and we have a very talented group,” said Wheeler. We all wanted Matt to stay but he has a new job which involves shift work and he will sign for a team lower down the pyramid due to these commitments. It is a shame but we wish him all the best. He needs to prioritise and football may be around for two years and a job lasts much longer than that. Tam will sign on a non-contract basis,” added Wheeler. “He is a good team-mate for the group and a great motivator. He wanted to get back into football and his attitude is spot on.”
And Wheeler said while he was optimistic about his team’s chances of a good pre-season, he added results were not crucial ahead of the first pre-season match against Ebbsfleet United on Saturday, July 7.
“I want to know where we are at,” he said. “I am not a massive one on results in pre-season. I have been at clubs in the past where I have won all the pre-season games and struggled to win at the start of the season, and the same is true of the opposite. What is important is we are all working together and we click when the football starts at the beginning of August. This is a good place to be and there will be fair opportunities for everyone.”
Article by Luke Lambert, The Echo