Optimism high at Hucknall Town

Hucknall Town Manager Andy Graves
Hucknall Town Manager Andy Graves

Hucknall Town boss Andy Graves it trying to keep his side’s feet on the ground as optimism grows following a fine pre-season.

After a fourth place finish in the Central Midlands League South last season, hopes are high that the club can gain promotion this coming season and boss Graves said: “I am trying to keep our feet on the ground. That’s the main thing.

“We have given some clubs with big wage bills food for thought, listening to some of the rollickings I have heard through the wall.

“One chairman, not from Carlton, said he couldn’t see the difference on the pitch for all the money they were paying out which was quite flattering for us.

“You can only be judged on where you finish, and you have had a good season if you do better than the season before. It’s all about progress.

“The first season we took over we finished 12th, then fourth last year and won the cup. I know everyone is expecting us to be going for it and that is the intention. We have four or five new players who have all gelled really well.

“But we are still stabilising the club and won’t be doing anything silly money-wise. It will all be done properly and I hope people will enjoy it. We hope to have a good season without being overconfident. I am really pleased at the moment, though I won’t get carried away.”

Last Saturday the Yellows were beaten 4-2 by Evo-Stik NPL Division One South Carlton Town and Graves said: “Performances have been outstanding and we were very unlucky against Carlton.

“First half we totally dominated it against a side three levels higher and it took an own goal to get them back in it.

“Second half they brought on fresh legs and we had a five minute spell of madness. The scoreline flattered them as they scored in the 90th minute. It was just individual errors.

“We know we won’t come up against anyone as strong as Carlton at our level.

“All the games we have played have been against teams higher than us, apart from Watnall who we beat 8-0.”

Hucknall complete their pre-season schedule on Saturday with a trip to Radford before the big kick-off at home to Collingham on Saturday week.

“We will have players on holiday for the first two or three matches so we won’t be able to field out strongest XI until they are all back. But everyone has that problem,” said Graves.

“The players are all buying into the new system we are playing. It’s gone well so far so we will see how it works in the Central Midlands League.

“We are back in the FA Vase again and play Stapenhill, who are only a league above so we shouldn’t fear them.

“There are some unknown quantities in the league. We play Collingham first game but I can’t find out from their web site when their pre-season games are so we may play them without a lot of information.

“There will be the usual tough games against the likes of Pinxton, Belper and teams like that and the local derbies all add a bit of spice.

“Linby have a good young side and Rolls Royce will be looking to build on their first season back in the league. It is going to be competitive and really tough and we are looking forward to it.”