Racing Club Warwick go into tomorrow’s opening Midland League Division One fixture on the back of two lacklustre friendly defeats.
A 2-0 loss against Droitwich was followed by a 6-0 defeat against Alvis but manager Michael Hayden was not too despondent ahead of tomorrow’s home clash with Pilkington XXX, with the bulk of his first choice XI missing for both clashes.
“We had seven and eight out against good opposition,” said Hayden.
“It was a chance for the lads that came in to take the shirt but they didn’t step up and I’ve told them that.”
But despite the reverses, Hayden believes Racers have the quality to be pushing up the Division One table after struggling in the lower reaches in the two seasons under his stewardship.
Among the new recruits are Toby Checketts and Junior Bennett from Highgate, with Robbie Stephens brought in from Southam.
Ash Buswell is also back to full fitness after suffering an ACL injury and is expected to form a solid partnership in the centre of defence with Simon Reynolds.
“I’m quietly optimistic.
“We’ve addressed what we were lacking last year.
“I want to stay loyal to the players we have and I’ve brought in players with experience to help them out.
“We’ve had two years of consolidation but I’m an ambitious guy.
“We’ve got everything in place from the juniors up and now we want to have a first team worth watching.”
One negative for the club however, was the long-term injury suffered by striker Ryan Langmead in pre-season.
“He came back to pre-season with a hunger I’d not seen from him for a while,” said Hayden.
“He scored a goal and made a 50-yard dash back to make a tackle and did his ACL.”
Racers follow up tomorrow’s clash with Pilkington with another home game on Tuesday night (7.45pm), with Coventry Copsewood the opposition.