Common target improved league campaign

Little Common player-manager Russell Eldridge. Picture courtesy Jon Smalldon
Little Common player-manager Russell Eldridge. Picture courtesy Jon Smalldon

Little Common Football Club is aiming to better its recent finishes as it prepares to kick-off its league campaign.

The Commoners will begin their 2016/17 Macron Store Southern Combination Football League Division One programme tomorrow (Saturday) eager to improve on their seventh place finish of the last two seasons.

“We’re definitely keen to improve on last year’s finishing position,” said Common player-manager Russell Eldridge. “By our standards that was disappointing last year.

“I wouldn’t like to say a number of points or a finishing position, but we will be looking to be up there in that top six as a guideline to where we want to be and then we’ll go from there.

“We know it’s going to be difficult, but we want to get as many points as we can and win as many games of football as we can.”

Eldridge believes Common’s squad is slightly stronger this term, particularly in defence, following the summer arrivals of Anthony Cooper and Dan Cruikshank.

“I think we’ve probably got a little bit more strength in depth in defence than we’ve had in the past,” he continued. “And probably as a whole we’re slightly stronger than we were last year.”

For the third season in a row, Common will open up with an away game against a team relegated from the division above. Their first opponents are St Francis Rangers, who won just one Premier Division match in the whole of 2015/16.

“I just think the first game of the season no team wants to give anything away,” Eldridge went on. “No team wants to lose the game. If we can win the game that will be great, but the most important thing is we don’t lose the game.”

Eldridge is eager for Common to show a bit more sharpness in both penalty boxes after last weekend’s 2-0 defeat to Langney Wanderers in the Peter Bentley Challenge Cup.

“It was more of a frustrating result because had we scored early on when we were on top, I think the result would’ve been a lot different,” he added. “It wasn’t quite the level we wanted to be at.

“I thought it was an encouraging performance. I thought we kept possession quite well and as a whole defended okay apart from the two errors which led to the goals. I would say we were just a little bit off in both final thirds.”

James Maynard and Adam Smith are expected to be out for 4-6 weeks with a knee injury and slight hamstring tear respectively. Dom Bristow is still away and Jake Sherwood is at a wedding.

Little Common’s opening fixtures (league unless stated): tomorrow (Saturday) St Francis Rangers (a), August 20 Storrington (a), August 27 Selsey (a), August 29 Seaford Town (h), September 3 Oakwood (h), September 6 Steyning Town (h), September 10 Erith Town (h) FA Vase 1st round qualifying, September 17 AFC Varndeanians (a), September 27 Southwick (h).

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