Lilies begin pre-season games with loss to clinical Ely
Fight and determination to improve on a disappointing campaign are already in abundance at Chatteris Town.
The Lilies officially began their pre-season preparations a fortnight ago, as they get ready to encounter a busy schedule over the next month.
Town finished bottom of the Kershaw Premier Division last term, although their relegation to Kershaw Senior A has yet to be confirmed due to a potential league restructuring.
But signs of improvement are already being seen in training, according to manager Alex Kaufman, which could bode well for the team ahead of the new season.
“The majority of players are coming across with a good base level of fitness”, Kaufman said.
“The sessions we have done already, they have worked hard, so it has been a good start.
“They are motivated to fight to improve on last season and individually improve as players.
“Overall it is looking strong, and once we approach all the fixtures and the season, it will settle down.”
Kaufman’s men will face teams currently playing at different levels, including opposition from Steps Four, Five and Six of the non-league pyramid.
But the Norwich City Academy coach believes this will be a valuable way to see how much his current crop of players can develop as a group.
“The games versus Ely and Soham are put in place to provide a platform for where we want to be as a club in the future.
“It will be good to see which players cans step up.
“The variety of levels of clubs will give us a good indication of where we are currently at as a squad.”
Since the beginning of May, the majority of the squad has been retained, but there is one key player who could be leaving thus far.
Defender Sol Goodby, who arrived at West Street earlier this year, is currently trialling at the likes of newly-promoted Wisbech Town and Huntingdon Town.
But despite this, there could be some new additions on the way as the Lilies look to build strength in depth and abide by a certain philosophy Kaufman hopes to implement into his players.
“Most of the squad are retained and I have added a few, which I will be happy to announce shortly”, he said.
“I also have two targets, which I am trying to secure, but it’s a slim chance.
“We will continue where we left off at the end of last season – the new players will get to know this very quickly and the current ones understand the expectations.
“We have a style which we will stick too, but we will also be flexible when need be to manage games.
“Fatigue will be the main concern, but a tough pre-season will stand us in good stead for the season ahead.”
Chatteris got their pre-season campaign underway against Ely City in a 6-0 loss last Saturday, before facing neighbours March Town in the Bill Salisbury Memorial Cup yesterday evening.
Kaufman said of the Ely game: “The first half performance was organised and we worked hard off the ball. We create few chances, but moved the ball well.
“We went 0-2 down, but overall, we were very good.
“In the second half, we only had small bursts of play and Ely dominated. Deaken Napier (ex-Wisbech and Soham winger) ran the show in the final third for Ely and and we struggled to contain him. Tiredness set in, we didn’t compete well and Ely were clinical.
“Ryan Rayner made a great penalty save and Matt Stratton had a good game for his first outing.
“More senior players will be back from holiday next week so we will continue to try things out.
“Overall fitness is key as we continue throughout the summer.”