Commoners target fast start

Little Common defender Jerome Smith (right) is expected to spend the first month or so of the season with Hastings United

Little Common defender Jerome Smith (right) is expected to spend the first month or so of the season with Hastings United

  • Common to kick-off season at Crawley Down Gatwick tomorrow
  • Boss targeting a fast start to campaign
  • Common lost just one of five warm-up games
  • Crone back at club & Foster also on board
  • Morris retired, Bristow moved away, Smith at Hastings
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Russell Eldridge has urged his Little Common footballers to make a fast start to the new season.

Common will kick-off their campaign in the newly-named Macron Store Southern Combination Football League Division One (formerly Sussex County League Division Two) with a trip to Crawley Down Gatwick tomorrow (Saturday).

“I think we’ve got to get back to high expectations of ourselves and make a better start than we had last year,” said Common player-manager Eldridge.

“I think that’s the important thing. The start really sets you up for the season. The first month, August and into mid-September, is very vital really. If you’re winning games and doing well, you become more confident.”

Common’s squad has a similar look to last season when they finished an inconsistent campaign strongly to end up in seventh place.

Steve Morris has retired and Dom Bristow has moved away to London for work reasons, while Jerome Smith is likely to spend the first month or so with Hastings United.

The start really sets you up for the season. The first month, August and into mid-September, is very vital really.

Russell Eldridge

On the plus side, however, Jamie Crone has returned to the club, and has looked sharp and focused in pre-season, according to Eldridge. Dan Estherby, a left-sided attacking player, has stepped up from the third team and has also impressed in the friendlies.

Hastings youngster Liam Foster has dual registered with Common and similar arrangements could be made with one or two other players as the season progresses.

Eldridge was pleased with the way Common performed in the warm-up games. They won 1-0 against Rusthall and 3-1 against Alfold, and drew 2-2 with Premier Division clubs Newhaven and Eastbourne Town, prior to a 3-0 loss away to Lydd Town on Tuesday evening.

“The attitude and application have been good,” Eldridge continued. “We’ve used a wide range of players and everyone within the group has got some good game time. It’s been impressive so far, but come the first league game it’s completely different.

“We’re playing six teams which we haven’t played before and I think it will be a competitive league.

“Any manager and any team wants to finish as high as they possibly can, and that’s no different to us. We know we’ve got a good, solid squad and we’re capable of beating anyone on our day. But on the other hand, we’re capable of losing to anyone.

“We’ll be searching for a bit more consistency and a stronger mentality in certain situations.”

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