Fresh start for East Budleigh footballers

Action from the East Budleigh meeting with Beer Albion Reserves. Picture IAN HITCHCOCK

Action from the East Budleigh meeting with Beer Albion Reserves. Picture IAN HITCHCOCK - Credit: Archant

The smell of freshly-cut grass, new nets gleaming in the spring sunshine, corner flags fluttering, warm-up cones in position, boots on and the nervous laughter before a big game. 
Grassroots football is back and East Budleigh resume with a visit from Dunkeswell Rovers in Division 2 East of the Devon and Exeter League. 
The new league tables placed East Budleigh three points behind Exmouth Rovers and the leaders have a game in hand, but player-manager Matt Jones is combining desire to overtake their local rivals with preparations for next season. 
“It almost feels like the start of a new season but we know there will be a tough challenge for us to catch Exmouth Rovers,” said Jones. 
“We were looking strong before the latest lockdown and we’re all hoping to get back on the winning trail as soon as possible. We do need to Exmouth Rovers to slip up a couple of times but we had a great game with them earlier in the season, winning 1-0. 
“The boys are all desperate to get back playing. We’ve already beaten Dunkeswell this season and hoping to start strong again. 
“We train this week and fitness will be very interesting. It will be a mixed session between the first-team and second-team, and just see what happens. 
“I’ve been speaking to the players and I know a few of them that were on the bench before Christmas are desperate to get back in the starting line-up. 
“I’ll take training on board, assess everybody’s fitness and think about the previous games because we changed formation to a 4-5-1, which was working really well for us. 
“We won’t know anything until we’ve had a training session and we will treat the next few weeks as a learning curve for next season. 
“There will be rolling subs and five people on the bench, so a great opportunity for people to play and rotate the side more than we normally would. 
“I’ve got a new lad hopefully coming into the side, so we will see how he progresses and just great to the players again because it has felt like a long time.”  

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