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Non-league: Kearn praises Bashley backing ahead of Biggleswade clash
JOINT-manager Stewart Kearn praised the people behind the scenes at Bashley for helping to put together a competitive squad ahead of tomorrow’s opener at newly-promoted Biggleswade Town.
Bash step into the unknown when they travel to Bedfordshire (3pm) to take on the Waders who won the Southern League Central Division play-offs last season to reach step three for the first time in their 140-year history.
The New Forest outfit have endured a testing summer with several changes to the executive committee resulting in a reduced playing budget and the departure of bosses Frank Gray and Gerry Murphy.
But after retaining six of last season’s squad and adding experienced duo Taffy Richardson and Tim Sills, Kearn is confident his new-look side can compete as he makes his managerial bow alongside Paul Gazzard.
“We’re much better prepared than we might have been,” said Kearn. “When you look back eight or 12 weeks, we are in a much better place than we were and hats off to everyone at the club because we have made great progress in a short space of time.
“First and foremost, survival is the main objective, but we have got everything we wanted out of pre-season and I would love to be able to raise the expectations as the season goes on.
"Both Gaz (joint-manager Paul Gazzard) and I want to better ourselves year-on-year and we would like to improve on last season’s efforts if we can.”
Goalkeeper Nic Jones, left-back Sam Boultwood and livewire Jack Odam are all in line for their competitive debuts.
Kearn added: “We have done some homework on them but we won’t be going into any game fearing our opponents.”
Bash: (from) Jones, Stephenson, I Richardson, Middleton, Boultwood, Strickland, S Richardson, Casey, Knight, Odam, Sills, Satterley, Farren, Brookes, Porter, Morris, Thomas.
- Wimborne Town begin their Division One South & West promotion push with a trip to Yate Town (3pm).
Boss Steve Cuss is still trying to seal a deal for defender Pat Wilson.
Magpies: (from) Harvell, Arnold, Whitley, Brian, Hubbard, Blake, Costello, Davidson, Phillipson-Masters, Gamble, Stokoe, Griffin, Cole, Smith, Roast, Kemble, Webb, Ackerman.
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