Lance Key sets Histon aims for new Thurlow Nunn League, Premier Division season
Stutes set for big kick off against Haverhill Rovers on Friday night
Lance Key has set Histon a target of a top-three finish in the Thurlow Nunn League, Premier Division.
The Stutes kick off the new campaign on Friday night at home to Haverhill Rovers, having finished last season in sixth place.
Changes have been at a minimum at the Glass World Stadium during the summer, with a number of new additions off-set by a couple of departures.
Results in friendlies have been encouraging, though the sole objective has been fitness, with defeat to Cherry Hinton followed by victory over Cambridge City in the Cambs Professional Cup, a win against Linton and a draw with Yaxley.
“Expectations from myself is that I want us to be top three this year,” said Key.
“Whether that takes us higher than that, who knows? Losing Felixstowe & Walton and Coggleshall going up, two very strong sides with two big budgets, makes it a little bit easier for the rest of us.
“The clubs with this type of money, it is very difficult to compete against really. You would say that Newmarket, Godmanchester, Stowmarket, ourselves and one of the clubs coming up, like Norwich United, will all be strong next year.
“Top three is where I want to be. If we get any higher than that, then it’s a bonus. With the squad we’ve got, adding the three players has made the squad stronger.
“I’ve lost a couple but that was expected with other commitments, family and travelling.”
Tommy Wright and Charlie Brown are the departures, but the new arrivals have been Ollie Emsden, from Saffron Walden; Matt Green, from Mildenhall; and Lewis McDonald, who has previously at Soham.
Andy Ballester and Simon Swinton will also add depth to the squad.
Emsden is a left-sided player who can play a variety of positions, McDonald can play centre-half, right-back or right wing-back, while Green will offer competition and complement Lee Smith in central midfield.
“I’ve got three players that are very adaptable, very hard-working, very fit for their age and will be very good additions to the club and the squad,” said Key.
“People have asked what else could you want? With the players coming in, it releases Danny Gould to play more of a higher role if possible.
“Last year, he played a lot at left wing-back which he may have to do again this year, but it also gives us a chance to play Danny further forward, with his pace in behind.
“As a scholar, he was always a striker so he knows where the back of the net is. With that in mind, we haven’t gone for another striker. We feel that with Danny, Dan Brown, Ed Rolph and Rukky (Diejomoah) we don’t need anybody else.”
And with a full season under his belt, Key has learned lessons.
“As a manager and as a player you’re always learning how you approach things and deal with certain aspects,” he said.
“This year, will I be firmer? Probably yes. Will I be more ruthless with players? Probably yes, because last year it was finding your feet a little bit to how you adapt to certain egos and people as individuals.
“This year, I have a stronger squad and we now have 19 who could all play first-team football, and when they play it doesn’t really weaken the side.
“The hardest part will be keeping everyone happy. So we’re looking forward to it.”