12:59PM, Friday 03 August 2018
Alan Devonshire has said that time will tell if Maidenhead United can repeat the relative success they enjoyed in the National League last season.
The Magpies soared to 12th place in their first ever campaign at that level but, having sold the likes of Sam Barratt and Harry Pritchard over the summer, there are doubts – even from the manager – as to whether they can replicate the form they showed last term.
The squad are heading into the campaign, and their first match at home to Gateshead on Saturday, full of confidence after an unbeaten pre-season campaign.
Their friendly matches finished with an encouraging 1-1 draw against League 1 neighbours Wycombe Wanderers at York Road on Friday night.
Gateshead may have finished 10 points worse off than the Magpies last term, however, they’ll fancy their chances of an opening day win having thrashed the Magpies 3-0 and 7-1 in their two matches against them last season.
United then face a Solihull Moors side away on Tuesday that have enjoyed big investment over the summer.
“It’s a tough start for us,” said Dev.
“Gateshead convincingly did the double over us last season so they’ll fancy their chances, but that’s something we want to put right.
“Solihull have signed a lot of players, so they’ll be much stronger.
“We’ll do our best to get off to a decent start. That would take the pressure off.
“I know what we need to do, but I’m also aware that second season syndrome could have an impact.
“I don’t yet know (if the side is stronger). Time will tell.
“We’ve lost some important players, good players who were also good in the dressing room.
“We’ve replaced them with good players but we’ll have to see how they settle in.”
United have impressed in pre-season, but the stand out performance came last Friday against the Chairboys.
The Magpies deservedly took the lead when Ryan Bird turned home Max Worsfold’s low cross in the 11th minute, two of the new boys combining to great effect.
Dev is confident Bird will score goals if provided with the service, and he also has few doubts about Worsfold’s ability to perform at this level.
“We did ok,” he said.
“But, as you know, I don’t take much notice of pre-season results.
“The fitness looked good and the sharpness was much better.
“There were some decent performances but there were also a couple who I wasn’t happy with.
“I’ll pick the side for Saturday on form.
“Max has missed a couple of weeks of pre-season with an ankle injury, but I know what Max can do and I feel like he’ll have a good season.”
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