Quadruple winners are first up for relegated Rutlanders
Upbeat Oakham United boss Stewart Lambie believes he has assembled a squad which is well equipped to deal with a tough start to their Peterborough League Premier Division campaign.
The relegated Rutlanders begin life back in the Peterborough League with a trip on Saturday to face reigning champions Netherton United who swept the honours board last season.
Oakham endured a torrid time last term which ended with their relegation from Division One of the United Counties League.
Lambie was appointed as their sixth manager in the last 12 months during the summer and has started to rebuild the Lonsdale Meadow outfit.
He has brought some familiar faces back to the Rutland club with the likes of Robbie Pearce, Richard and Michael Nelson and Dan Jenkins all returning having helped the club previously to Peterborough League Premier Division championship success.
Dan Bratcher, Cameron Brookes, Ash Chamberlain, Steve Jucikas, Corey Taylor and Mark Wilde all remain from last season’s side while young guns Haniel Marasco, Josh Gooding, Oliver Smith and Luke Matts have also duel registered with Grantham Town Under 21s.
And, despite facing a Netherton side in their opener that lost just two of their 30 league games while going on to complete a memorable league, county cup, PFA Senior Cup and President’s Shield quadruple, Lambie is unfazed by the testing start.
He said: “I’m pretty confident about the season ahead with the squad that we’ve put together.
“Several of the players who helped us win the league in the past are all committed as well as some exciting young players from Grantham Town so it’s gone a lot better than I thought.
“We’re still getting used to each other so I haven’t been too bothered about pre-season results.
“It’s more about fitness and getting used to the formations we want to play.
“It’s a tough start away at Netherton, but we’ve got to play them at some point and hopefully they might be a bit off the pace with it being the first game.
“They’ve signed a few new players as well so they might not be fully used to each other yet.”
Club stalwarts Nathan Arkle and Aaron Simpson have taken over running of the reserve team for their coming campaign in Division One of the Peterborough League.
They start with a trip to Crowland Town on Saturday before taking on Uppingham Town in a derby duel on Tuesday night.
Lambie added: “Both the first team and reserves will have around 16 players available for each side this weekend which is great stuff.
“We’ve still got a couple out with niggles after pre-season, but we’ve got plenty of players available across the two teams.”