09:00AM, Friday 06 July 2018
The release this week of the National League fixtures underscored how difficult a season Maidenhead United face, although their chairman does not expect it to be any more demanding than last year’s inaugural campaign.
Peter Griffin believes that the Magpies are well prepared in all areas and have a better understanding of what to expect.
“I wouldn’t say the season looks tougher than last year but it will still be tough,” he said.
“Gateshead, the Magpies’ first opponents, have gone part-time, Eastleigh have lost their major backer, although they have still been signing players, and Dagenham won’t have the backing they did last season. So there are some clubs with financial issues.
“But we also know that clubs like Harrogate and Salford, coming up, are high-profile sides and well-backed.
“Then you have Chesterfield and Barnet, coming down, who will be keen to bounce back, although, look at Hartlepool, who found it tough last season.
“Wrexham have been in this division for 10 years so will be keen to get out, while I expect Leyton Orient to push on.
“There are challenges but we’re well placed.”
Studying the new fixtures, Griffin has penciled in the matches that particularly excite him.
He said: “Chesterfield, Salford and the Leyton Orient in a row is an interesting set of fixtures.
“And it’s great that we will be playing Aldershot twice over Christ- mas and New Year.
“The two teams have a great history against each other as it’s effectively a local derby these days. The match at York Road on Boxing Day, depending on how our season goes, could attract a huge crowd, certainly our biggest of the campaign.”
According to the chairman, the club has been able to progress off the pitch, building on their successful first National League campaign and a burgeoning reputation.
He said: “Last season we had to do a lot off the pitch with improvements to the ground but this summer we have been able to focus more on commercial activity and it’s great that we have more sponsors on board.”
He added: “It will also be interesting to see how that Alan Devonshire Suite goes.
“It proved increasingly popular last year and sold out for the final few matches.
“It’s already starting to get booked out by companies and the fixtures coming out should help with that.”
Griffin also believes there is plenty of positive news around the squad, which he saw train on Tuesday.
“The team will look similar at the back and in the centre of midfield,” he said.
“Where we will look different is going forward with Ryan Bird, James Akintunde and Josh Kelly coming in.
“We have new options, which is exciting, and I believe we have a really good blend of youth and experience.”
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