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Survival still the main goal for Devonshire in difficult second season for Magpies

Alan Devonshire is looking forward to getting the players back in for pre-season training on Saturday week (June 30), but added that his first priority for the new season will once again be survival.

Having lost the likes of Harry Pritchard, Sam Barratt, Sean Marks and Jake Goodman over the summer, Devonshire knows this could be a difficult second season for the Magpies in the National League.

But he’s confident the players he’s brought in will give them the best possible chance of building on their achievements last year.

“Listen, my first priority will be to get to 51 points again,” Devonshire said this week.

“We’ve lost Harry (Pritchard) who was our top goalscorer and provided plenty of assists. We’ve lost Sam (Barratt), who got us points out of nothing, Marksy (Sean Marks) who did what he did for us brilliantly, and Jake (Goodman) who also had a very good year.

“For me it’s about getting the team out there and trying to get off to a good start. I’m looking forward to getting the players back in. It’s been a busy summer but I’ll be pleased to get back to the football.”

United made striker James Akintunde their fifth signing of the summer yesterday, to add to the transfers of Ryan Bird, Ayo Obileye, Herson Alves and Max Worsfold this summer. That’s likely to be it for summer transfer business, at least until pre-season gets underway, but Devonshire admitted his head could still be turned.

“That will be it for now,” he said. “We’ll leave it to pre-season, but if something comes up that’s better than what we have we’ll try to do something.

“I’m excited about the players we’ve brought in. Herson is a wide man but can also play in behind. It’s time for him to play in the Conference because he’s only played u23s football for Brentford. But he wants it bad, which I like. Max (Worsfold) also wants it bad, and I’d have probably gone in for him sooner if it hadn’t been for Harry and Sam.”

Herson Alves’ aims for the new season after signing from Brentford are fairly simple – to score as many goals as he can and help the Magpies to the play-offs or promotion.

Speaking to the club website this week he said: “I want to get as many goals as I can and to help my team to promotion or the play-offs.”

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