Lance Key encouraged by early cohesion of Histon squad
Stutes plans on good track
Lance Key believes Histon are in the strongest position they have been for the past 10 years this closed season.
The Stutes finished sixth in their return to the Thurlow Nunn League, Premier Division last season after multiple years further up the non-League pyramid.
It is maintaining much of their squad, though, that has left manager Key delighted by the position in which they find themselves so far, ahead of the 2018/19 campaign.
“We’ve kept 80 per cent of the squad from last year – they have already said yes to deals,” he said. “We have three under contract, that we have the option on for next year which we will take up.
“It’s the first time in 10 years that we have a squad [at this time] and could probably play tomorrow; that’s the beauty of it.
“We haven’t got to worry about pre-season as such trying to find players or getting a side together. We have a squad of 15 or 16 already ready to go for the season, and if we can add two or three more to that come the start of pre-season then great.”
Key has already brought in Saffron Walden’s Ollie Emsden and former Soham Town Ranger Lewis McDonald.
“Ollie can play left-back, centre-half, left wing-back, central midfield, but is a left-sided player,” said the boss.
“He played against us four times last year and each time he impressed me. He was the first on the list to get in.”
McDonald is a right wing-back or centre-half and has agreed terms with Histon on his return from 18 months in Australia.
“He needs international clearance because he has been playing in Australia so once that all goes through, everything is hunky-dory in that sense,” said Key.
“It normally takes four to six weeks so we have put that through so hopefully come pre-season he will be able to play for us.”
It all adds up to an increase in competition for places for Histon, something that Key had identified as being crucial for this season.
“One thing we felt last year was that we didn’t feel we had enough strength in depth to change things off the bench sometimes,” he said.
“That’s no discredit to the players we have, but when you watch teams like Felixstowe, Coggleshall and Stowmarket, when they changed their team and made substitutions, they were just as strong, if not strong. That’s what we’re aiming for.”
Ed Rolph has also committed to the new season with Histon, signing a one-year deal with the option of a second.
The Stutes start their pre-season campaign against Royston next Tuesday (July 10).