… Port Talbot Town, away from home. The media are predicting they will finish 9th, so hopefully a chance to get a victory in my opening match Our first home game is a week later against the defending champions, Neath; they’re predicted to finish 3rd and have Player of the Year, Lee Trundle, among their ranks, so my debut in front of our fans looks like being a tricky one. It gets no easier for my next home game (the following week) as Llanelli visit Park Hall Stadium. Llanelli are predicted to finish 2nd and are joint favourites with ourselves, the odds being evens. To be a success, I’m going to need to hit the ground running, especially with board having given their minimum expectations:
Before the serious action begins, there’s pre-season and games are lined up: Monday 16th July sees Kilmarnock visit Park Hall Stadium and two days later, Hamilton are the visitors; the second game I’m going to give triallists a chance to strut their stuff and persuade me that they should join us. Also, Clifford Mulenga (who favoured Hamilton over us) may find himself a marked man and some hard tackles coming his way… Tuesday 24th July brings the visit of Bury and on Saturday 28th July, we head over to Chirk; we are affiliated with them, so have to play a friendly there in which they keep all gate receipts. Must remember to loan them some players after that because I don’t want anyone proving a point against me! We welcome Shrewsbury Town on Saturday 4th August and our final pre-season game takes place on Saturday 11th August (a week before the season kicks off) when we travel to my former employers, Vibonese of Italian Serie C2/C.
Signings have continued and I’ve strengthened at the back by signing Joe Jones, an eighteen year-old centre back released by Leicester City.
He’s up there with the best of my defenders and I’m not the only one excited to see him pulling on the green and white of TNS:
With a couple of my goalkeepers nearing the end of their contract, I decide to upgrade further and bring in Jan Sebek, who was released by Chelsea. He has 6 youth caps for the Czech Republic and looks likely to start the season as my Number 1, although I’m sure McNeil will put pressure on him during pre-season.
Central midfield also receives a boost with the signing of young Irish midefielder, Paudie Quinn. Raith Rovers deemed him surplus to requirements, so I’ve snapped him up.