Exmouth Town manager Richard Pears reveals just how positive things are at Southern Road heading into the new season.

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Exmouth Town boss Richard Pears will be bringing followers of the Exmouth Journal website a weekly insight into all things Exmouth Town and here we have his first offering.

First up we asked the Southern Road chief how the pre-season had gone for him and his team.

Pear says: “I could not be happier. The pre-season programme has gone exactly as planned culminating in an excellent all-round display to win the last warm-up game. I have managed to get on board the players I really wanted and I am delighted to have retained the players I felt would best complement what has come into Southern Road. We are as ready as we could be. The levels of individual fitness are good and I feel the squad of 18 we have assembled is more than capable of doing the club proud this season. What I am very confident about is that each and every one of the 18 in the 1st team squad are capable of starting and that’s so healthy in terms of competition for places and the fact that clearly no single player is now guaranteed a start. That means consistency of performance is going to be the key to players keeping their place in the side and that’s ideal for any manager! We’ll set no specific targets beyond saying that obviously a promotion berth is the ultimate aim. It’s a long season and there are some very good teams we will come across along the way. What we need to do is to apply ourselves game by game. If we can in the league what I have seen in pre-season then we will be fine. I have been very impressed with the spirit in the dressing room, always a big key to a successful campaign at whatever level of the game you are playing.”

On the trip to Axminster he said: “An opening day visit to Axminster Town is not as comfortable a trip as it might have been last season when the Tigers were clearly having a problem or two. Paul Ashford (the new Axminster Town manager) is someone who knows the game and the league very well, and I am sure he will have a game plan to make it very tough for us. With his Sidmouth connection I expect him to be looking at this as an east Devon derby and all the added spice that goes with such a meeting. That said for me it’s all about what we do and if the players can take their pre-season work, commitment and enthusiasm, onto the Sector Lane pitch on Saturday then we will be up for it and capable of bringing a positive result home with us.”

So who does the Town boss expect to mount the most serious challenge in terms of bagging the South West Peninsula League Eastern Division title? “There’s some very likely candidates and I do thin k this season is going to see more of a race for the title rather than the one or two club assault on the top honour last term. I expect the major challenges to come from Crediton, Stoke Gabriel, Galmpton I also in have a fancy for Teignmouth Town who I expect to be strong and competitive.”

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