Grendon Rangers manager Scott Reynolds is confident his side can avoid relegation in their first season in the South Midlands League Division Two.
Following promotion from the North Bucks Premier Division last season, Rangers have had to make a number of changes on and off the field in preparation for their 2013/14 campaign.
Ahead of their opening match against Caddington tomorrow, Reynolds said: “Following a ground inspection at the back end of last season, there were a number of improvements that needed to be made at the home ground to ensure it was up to the standard required for South Midlands Football.
“We have had to make a few alterations to the layout of changing facilities, put up separation barriers for supporters, invest in dug outs for home and away team management and substitutes and come up with a long term sustainable budget to ensure we can afford the extra costs of playing in better football.
“There are a few smaller changes that had to be made, for example appointing club officials, supplying refreshments for officials and committee members and after match food for both teams.”
Reynolds was also keen to ensure he kept the majority of last year’s promotion-winning squad together, but he has had to bring in some new faces.
He added: “On the playing front, my initial aim was to work hard to keep all of the squad who did so well last season.
“They were the ones who made us feel that as a club we were strong enough to apply for South Midlands football.
“However, naturally a couple were not able to commit to the extra training, earlier meet times and more travelling. Therefore we have had to look for players. Pleasingly, this has been very successful. About six additional first team players have been added. All of them have played this level before and bring vast levels of experience to all areas of our current squad.
“I am really pleased with the squad, in total I have about 20 players to pick from. Some of which will naturally filter into our reserve team and develop some important skills and experience that way. The first team squad will be very competitive for places. But I have my best 11 in my head for the season opener.”
The club will be playing at this level for the first time in their history, but Reynolds is confident they can compete with mid-table a realistic target, adding: “The aims for the season are to initially not to finish bottom.
“Realistically, with the squad we have and the performances and results we have got from our pre-season schedule, we should be aiming for mid-table.
“Once we have played our first few games we can look at the fixtures and the league table and begin to target the games where we feel we should be taking maximum points.
“We have entered lots of cup competitions also. We always aim to have good cup runs, but with the standard of opposition being higher this season, that too will be more of a challenge. The Reserves are ambitious and will be looking to get themselves into the North Bucks Premier Division within two seasons.
“The long term goal is to stay in the league and build a reputation as a South Midlands, non league football club. We have a very strong and successful youth structure, to which we want to be able to offer the best standard of football possible. Alongside taking promotion, we have also become an Chartered Standard Football Club too, which has meant all managers and coaches must be correctly qualified and the club is to work to high standards set by the FA throughout all teams. Once we have sustained ourselves, we will look at the next target.”
Rangers kick-off their season at home to Caddington tomorrow, kick-off 3pm, while the Reserve side travel to Long Marston to play Lane End Reserves in the final of the Marsworth Reserve Cup on Wednesday, August 21, for a rescheduled match from last year. Then the North Bucks Intermediate League program gets under way on the August 24 with a trip to play Scot Youth FC
For more information, you can visit the club’s website at www.pitchero.com/clubs/grendonrangersfc.