Brakes are buoyed by benefit of experience

Leamington manager Paul Holleran does not believe his side will fall victim to the second-season syndrome which blights so many clubs.
Richard Batchelor has made an exceptional recovery, says Paul Holleran.Richard Batchelor has made an exceptional recovery, says Paul Holleran.
Richard Batchelor has made an exceptional recovery, says Paul Holleran.

Buoyed by a promotion campaign, clubs often carry the momentum through to the following season, only to be found out when the initial euphoria subsides.

However, Holleran says rather than fear their follow-up Conference North campaign, Brakes should approach it with the confidence that comes from a season’s worth of experience.

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“In the Southern League you didn’t need to be at 100 per cent to get the three points,” said Holleran ahead of tomorrow’s opener at home to Guiseley.

“In this league you’ve got to be bang at it to just come away with a 1-0 or a 2-1.

“It’s a demanding league, but you’d expect that. We’re at the pinnacle of non-league football.

“We have had a year to have a look at it and we’re aware of the levels. We know more about the teams and the league and what we need to help us compete.

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“We just need to come through the first ten games unscathed.”

Centre-back Jamie Tank became the sixth new face to arrive last week following on from Jack Edwards, Stuart Pierpoint, Jordan Goddard, Neil Collett and Liam Maher, with Stefan Moore also returning after his lucrative spell at Brackley.

And, while Holleran admitted his summer was busier than he would ideally have wanted, he said the depth of the squad would prove crucial during what promises to be a tough opening month.

“We’ve had changes in the squad. Tony Breeden, Liam Daly and Nathan Hicks, we didn’t want to lose them.

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“When you turn a squad around like that it’s always difficult.

“But we’re pleased with the lads we’ve brought in and ever since I’ve been at the club we’ve brought in players who we believe can make the step up.

“We’ve had some tough fixtures at home [in pre-season], probably too many, but everyone’s back in training and come Saturday we’ll have everyone to pick from. And we’ll need everyone.”

One of those players pushing for a start is Richard Batchelor, who missed the entire 2013/14 campaign after tearing his cruciate ligament in a pre-season game at Stratford.

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Batchelor has featured in all six of Brakes’ friendlies this campaign. However, Holleran says the tenacious midfielder may have to settle for a place on the bench in the opening few weeks of the season as he adjusts to the hustle and bustle of Conference football.

“Richard Batchelor is like signing a new player.

“To come on how he has in 12 months, he’s done exceptionally well to be where he is now.

“He’s got an important role to play, initially as an impact player.

“It’s one thing training and playing friendlies. No one puts a tackle in in pre-season, apart from Joe Magunda.

“But Saturday won’t be for the faint-hearted and we’re aware Guiseley will ask a lot of questions.”

Brakes follow up tomorrow’s home clash with Guiseley with a trip to Hednesford on Tuesday evening.