FC season preview: Faulconbridge glad he has finally built his own team

Aylesbury FC manager Craig Faulconbridge
Aylesbury FC manager Craig Faulconbridge
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Aylesbury FC boss Craig Faulconbridge says he is delighted with his dealings in the summer and now has a squad he can call his own.

Having had the benefit of a full pre-season, during which time he has been able to shape the Moles squad how he wants it, Faulconbridge is champing at the bit for the season opener at AFC Hayes on Saturday.

With the added spice of games against rivals Aylesbury United on the horizon this time around, Faulconbridge admits there is an ‘added buzz’.

But while not wanting to play down the impending first ever competitive match against the Ducks, former Premier League footballer Faulconbridge insists he will not look beyond the next game.

The Moles are in for a good season according to the man in the dugout because he has been able to bring not only the right players, but the ‘right people with the right attitudes to the football club’.

“I’ve chopped and changed from last year, put it that way,” Faulconbridge said.

“There are a few players who have surprised me. I’ve been able to bring in winners, people who have played League football, players that are going to start the season fit and most importantly players that have the right attitude.

“I feel I am now in a position where I can say ‘that’s my team’.

“Pre-season has been positive, results have not gone our way because we’ve played higher placed teams, but I looked at that team I put out and thought ‘yes, that’s my team, I’ve put that team together’.”

On the prospect of the opening day trip to AFC Hayes, Faulconbridge predicts a tough encounter and says the Calor Southern League will be quite open this season.

“Playing anyone in this league is tough, especially away from home in the first game of the season,” he said.

“You can’t expect to win in this league, there’s no bankers, no games you can hang your hat on. Every game is another opportunity for three points and it’s my job to make sure the players are focused on that and not thinking ahead or being distracted, it’s all about how you play on the day.”

Talking of distractions Faulconbridge concurs with rival boss Tony Joyce in his assessment of the impending clash on Bank Holiday Monday August 26, that ‘he wants points on the board before then’.

But he admits the derby does add extra spice to the season.

“I’m really not looking that far ahead,” Faulconbridge said.

“But he (Joyce) is dead right, it’s all about points on the board.

“There is a buzz about the game, I’m not going to sit here and dumb it down and there will be a lot of interest in it, it is a massive game.

“But there are lots of derbies this season that are equally as important. For me it’s about making sure we’re prepared and focused on three points each time we play.”

When asked to single out any of his summer transfers, Faulconbridge refrained but said he is just as enthused about those remaining from last season as he is any new signings.

“All the players have been key for me, not just the ones that are new. Ben Stevens fit is going to be immense for us.

“His leadership, the way he talks on the pitch which goes unnoticed a lot of the time, that makes him the first person on my teamsheet.

“Having Davis Haule back, who plays like a 20 year old is key in the middle while Jonathan Constant, Brian Haule, Gareth Price and Jerome Federico are all good at this level and would be comfortable at the level above so it looks good for us. But it’s all well and good looking good on paper, we have got to go out and get results and prove it now.”