Oakham are licking their wounds this weekend after suffering two heavy defeats, albeit to clubs used to playing at a higher standard, and by once again getting struck down by the injury curse.
Oakham United’s winning start to their pre-season programme came to an end in dramatic fashion on Saturday with a 5-1 loss to March Town.
Ben Easson scored the Rutland side’s solitary goal.
However the bigger concern to the club is the loss of goalkeeper Alex Brown who pulled up with a broken foot - the infamous fracture of the fifth metatarsal which struck down England’s hopes before the 2002 World Cup when David Beckham suffered the same injury.
Keen for Oakham not to suffer like England, United manager Wayne Oldaker has already signed a top replacement in former Ramsey and Stilton keeper Simon Dalton.
On Tuesday, Oakham suffered a 7-2 defeat at the hands of Harrowby United, who look to continue from where they left off last season having scored more than a hundred goals on their way to promotion.
The plus point from the game was two of Oldaker’s new signings got on the scoresheet, Adam Rothery and Tom Caldicott.
At 26, Rothery is an experienced box-to-box player who can score goals and bring a real dynamism to the Oakham side.
Oldaker said: “He has a lot of pedigree. He won the PDFL Premier with Ramsey, so he has been there and got the T-shirt. Since then he has gone on and got some experience of UCL football with Yaxley and last season he played about 25 games for Holbeach.”
The other new signing to score for Oakham is holding midfielder Tom Caldicott. The scratch golfer has taken some time away from the game to concentrate on golf but has been talked back into the fold. He also has experienced UCL football playing for Bourne.
“These are the sorts of players we want to bring in to reach the Holy Grail [promotion].” Oldaker said.
“We told them about what we are trying to do here and they like the style of football we want to play. It is another part of the jig-saw and makes us a stronger squad. You don’t win anything with 11 players.”
That is especially true when the injuries start to pile in and to the disbelief of the manager he already has a list of walking wounded players stretching to eight, amongst them Robbie Dance, Michael Nelson and Robbie Pierce.
Oldaker said their target this season is finishing in the top six, to become an established side before setting their sights on greater prizes.