10:00AM, Sunday 08 July 2018
After coming to terms with the new National League South fixtures, which were released this week, Neil Baker is confident his newly promoted side will be no-one’s whipping boys.
Last season’s Southern League Premier South play-off winners Slough Town begin their campaign at home to Hampton & Richmond, and the Rebels’ joint boss couldn’t be happier.
“I’m absolutely delighted to have a home game first-up – and an exciting one like Hampton,” he said.
“They’ll be tough, as they were right up there last season, but it’s an exciting prospect.
“They will be a different team from the one which made the play-offs, with Gary McCann coming in as manager and bringing six or seven players with him from Hendon.
“Gary always sets up his teams well and some of the players will be familiar as we played them in the FA Trophy.”
Assessing the rest of the fixtures, Baker added: “Torquay and Woking, down from the National League, are big games, of course.
“I’ve always considered Torquay a big side and remember when my dad played for Farnborough and knocked them out of the FA Cup in 1992.
“We have them at home for our fifth game so I expect a big crowd.
“The longest trip is to Truro and that’s the last match of the season which is perfect.
“Hopefully, we are in a good place by then and can combine the trip with an end-of- season jolly, but that’s a long way off yet.”
The Rebels will face a double header over Christmas and the New Year, with Wealdstone, which Baker said was ‘perfect’, adding: “It’s who I thought we would get and, given The Stones' travelling support, they should be two bumper houses for those games.”
Baker says his side is fully focused and will soon find their feet.
“It’s all very real now; we now know the who, when and where,” he said.
“Pre-season will fly by. The lads came back on Tuesday and looked in good shape, and we are happy with the squad.
“We’ve made a couple of changes, but the lads have deserved the right to play at this level and it’s great to give them the chance.”
He added: “We go in with no fears. We will have a go.
“Jon (Underwood) and I are always positive but we won’t be making any big statements about where we will finish.
“We will compete. We are not there to make up the numbers.”
The Rebels begin pre-season at home to Met Police on Tuesday and then host a Reading XI on Saturday, July 14.
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