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Bourne Town are gearing up for the new United Counties League season



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Ambitious Bourne Town are hoping a strong recruitment drive can help them rise back up the United Counties League ranks.

The Wakes finished last season 19th in the 23-team Division One after a turbulent start to their campaign due to uncertainty from the Football Association over their league placement.

Bourne were initially placed in the Thurlow Nunn League before an 11th hour switch back to the United Counties League which hit their pre-season preparations.

Action from Harrowby United's South Kesteven Charity Cup semi-final with Bourne Town on Tuesday night. Photo: Toby Roberts (57982421)
Action from Harrowby United's South Kesteven Charity Cup semi-final with Bourne Town on Tuesday night. Photo: Toby Roberts (57982421)

However, they have bolstered both their management team, playing squad and club roster ahead of the new campaign.

Former Deeping Rangers boss Michael Goode has joined the Wakes as director of football while ex-Peterborough North End and Thorney manager Tom Florence has become Steve Wilson's assistant.

They have retained the core of last season's squad while also adding a number of new players including Matt Cox, Josh Edmondson, Nathan Smith, Ben Cowles and Dylan Knowling.

Goode said: "It was tough for the club last season with all the uncertainty at the start with the regards to the league situation.

"The club is in a great position off the pitch though and it's no secret that they want to get back up to step five but it isn't easy to do that in this league.

"We have gone hell for leather on recruitment this year. We've used the bed-rock of players from last season and built a new squad around it.

"All of the players which we have brought in are capable of playing at step five but, for some reason or another, it hasn't happened for them yet.

"We are hoping to bring these players together and mould them into a side.

"We won't be making any bold statements about winning the league because there are some big clubs in our division.

Action from Bourne's pre-season clash with Holbeach. Photo: Chris Lowndes (57982435)
Action from Bourne's pre-season clash with Holbeach. Photo: Chris Lowndes (57982435)

"It's a tough league but hopefully we can build a side which is capable of getting us towards the top end of it and trying to compete.

"With the play-off scenario, if we're anywhere around the top eight with 10 games to go then we will have a chance.

"We've got a solid group at the moment and, although we will have to make some tough decisions in the next couple of weeks about where we move forward, it has given us a good starting point and the quality will then come on."

Florence's arrival as assistant to boss Wilson sees a four-strong management team with Matt Robinson as coach and Junior Jones as goalkeeper coach.

Goode added: "We have a solid management team but we saw a gap and needed someone to come in and directly assist Steve.

"Tom has knowledge of step six football and player contacts. He lives in Bourne and has bought into what the club is trying to achieve.

Action from Bourne's pre-season clash with Holbeach. Photo: Chris Lowndes (57982432)
Action from Bourne's pre-season clash with Holbeach. Photo: Chris Lowndes (57982432)

"He is really keen and enthusiastic and knows the local scene so it's a perfect fit for us.

"The management team is much stronger and we've got a new physio/sports therapist to give us a good set-up off the pitch as well."

Goode is also relishing his return after being out of the game for a couple of seasons following a successful spell with Deeping.

The Wakes' reserve team will be under the management of Kai Brownhill this season while a new A team will be led in the Peterborough League by Steve Bills as Goode looks to use his role to create a strong link between the club.

He added: "I've known chairman Chris Good for about 30 years through football and cricket and he asked me if I would help out.

"I love non-league football and this suits me because I've got an opportunity to be involved but without the total commitment of the day-to-day running of it so I'm looking forward to getting back.

Action from Bourne's pre-season clash with Holbeach. Photo: Chris Lowndes (57982438)
Action from Bourne's pre-season clash with Holbeach. Photo: Chris Lowndes (57982438)

"I'm supporting the first team management, heading up the recruitment of players which is what I enjoy doing as well as giving advice on training, tactical play and bringing my knowledge of step five football.

"We want to get back up to step five in the short or medium term and I'm over-seeing that.

"I'm also trying to form a link between the reserves and our new A team and making the link with Bourne Town Juniors stronger.

"We want to give lads in the town somewhere to play men's football once they come out of the youth section."

Bourne were beaten by a solitary strike against Harrowby United in the semi-final of the South Kesteven Charity Cup on Tuesday night.

In front of a healthy 100-plus crowd on a very hot night, both teams had big squads and many changes from when they previously met in the United Counties League last season.

It was a very cagey affair in the first half with chances hard to come by as both defences were on top.

Harrowby's new skipper was very dominant in the air, as Bourne put a lot of balls in and around the box. Likewise, Herbie Panting had a strong game for Bourne in their defence.

The Arrows probably just shaded the first half but none of the crowd were surprised the interval score was 0-0.

The second half started and, with both teams allowed seven substitutes, the game began to open up, with Bourne looking the likelier to open the scoring.

Arrows goalkeeper Phil McGann pulled off two good saves to keep Bourne at bay as the substitutes were made by both sides.

It looked more and more as if penalties were going to decide the tie when, with probably their only real chance of the second half, young Charlie Baker beat his man and crossed for Jordan Parker to slot home.

Harrowby saw out the last five minutes to earn a final spot against the Grantham Town while Bourne visit Blackstones on Saturday (kick-off 12.30pm) in the third place play-off.



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