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Wings boss Day aims big again
WELLING United player-manager Jamie Day believes his side can repeat last season’s play-off heroics despite losing several key figures over the summer.
The Wings just missed out on promotion from the Conference South following a 1-0 play-off final defeat to Dartford in May but since then the likes of Jack Parkinson, Loick Pires, Craig Holloway and Dean Cracknell have all moved on.
However, Day is optimistic Welling will quickly adapt ahead of the season’s opening game with Bath City on August 18 when the Wings, who this morning signed a new one-year shirt sponsorship deal with Bexleyheath-based nightclub Pure, begin their quest for another top five finish.
Day said: “It is the club we are, we get players who have either missed out in the pro game or are good young talents who we develop and then move them on.
“This is our role at the minute at Welling, we don’t have massive amounts of money so we have to do it the development way.
“Obviously we are disappointed we’ve lost them but from our point of view we’ve moved them on to bigger clubs and then we look to get another crop of young players in and do the same again.
“If we can keep doing it then it will attract decent young players to us and it is down to us to develop and move them on.
“We’ve kept 11, taken three on and will look to try and add definitely one, maybe two if we can and then we will have a squad of 16 to take us into the start of the season.
“We will review it after a couple of months of the season to see if we need to add or what we need to do then, but we’ve got a good base to work with and we are looking forward to the new season.”
Day added: “We set a target of trying to get into the play-offs each season.
“I think it is going to be a little bit harder this year because a few teams have spent a bit of money in order to try and get promotion.
“There are about six or seven clubs who I think are ahead of us so we’ve got to make sure we stay around that group and just make sure we give ourselves the best chance of getting into the play-offs come May. “We’ve got a decent base of players which we’ve kept, we’ve added some good young talent to it so hopefully we can try and get a play-off place.”
And Day confirmed Welling will not be taking on as many trialists as they have in previous summers ahead of the squad’s return to pre-season training this evening.
“We aren’t going to take many, about six or seven this time because we’ve done it in the past taking 15 or 20,” he explained.
“Basically we’ve got our squad picked, we are just looking for that one or two who we’ve missed out who are going to come in and we will work with them for a couple of weeks to see if they fit into us and if they are ready for our level.
“We start back tonight. It won’t be hard, it will just be more of a meeting and they are all back in on Thursday to start properly then.”
Welling have arranged some high-profile pre-season friendlies this summer, starting with the annual curtain raiser against Charlton on July 14 and followed by visits from a Millwall XI (July 24), a West Ham XI (July 28), Cambridge United (July 31) and Crystal Palace (August 4).
Day is looking forward to the challenges ahead but admits his real priority from the matches is improved fitness levels as opposed to results.
“They are difficult games,” he said.
“Charlton have just won promotion and have a decent squad so for us we’ve crammed in a lot of games this year.
“We are going to try and play as many games as possible and get the boys fit that way as well.
“They are games we are looking forward to, we aren’t expected to win them but as long as we give a good account of ourselves for 60 minutes then I’m pleased with that.
“There will be 2,000 plus here for the Charlton game and the matches will Millwall, West Ham and Crystal Palace should attract good crowds as well so it all helps us budget wise over the summer.
“The more people who come and watch, the more it is going to benefit us.
“The pitch is looking lovely and Piggy does a great job considering two teams play here every year.
“To have one of the best pitches obviously suits the way we play so credit to him.”
Welling discovered on Monday they will face Bath City first once the real action gets underway on August 18 in what the manager believes will be the first of several difficult early tests for his side.
Day said: “It is a tough first month for us.
“Bath have just been relegated and will still be strong and we’ve got four big games where we need to try to get some points on the board and try and make a good start to the new campaign.
“The two who have come down (Bath City, Hayes & Yeading) are going to be up there.
“If they have kept their squads then they are still going to be strong at this level.
“Eastleigh, Dover and Chelmsford have spent a bit of money, as have Havant again, so they are all going to be up there.
“No doubt Bromley will spend a bit of money in the next month or so.
“There are about six or seven clubs who I think are ahead of us so we’ve got to make sure we stay around that group and just make sure we give ourselves the best chance of getting into the play-offs come May.”
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