Robson in high spirits ahead of Buckingham opener

Joel McCormick and Drew Mitten standing over a Buckingham Town free-kick
Joel McCormick and Drew Mitten standing over a Buckingham Town free-kick

Buckingham Town manager Chris Robson has set his sights on a top six finish ahead of his first competitive game in charge of the club this weekend.

The Robins face Peterborough Sports in their opening encounter of the 2014/15 United Counties League Division One season tomorrow, Saturday, before playing their first home game against Northampton Spencer next Tuesday.

Robson, who took over from Neil Griffiths in June, said ahead of this weekend’s clash: “I’ve been involved in many league openers with Buckingham but this one is that little bit more special and I’m excited to lead the club in what will be a tough opener at Peterborough.

“We have prepared well for the game and I feel we have every chance to make a winning start. We need to go up there with the right attitude and our work-rate needs to be 100 per cent, if we do that, and with the talent we have in the squad, we give ourselves every chance to win the game.”

Robson has set his sights high for the upcoming campaign as he looks to improve on last season’s 11th-placed finish under Griffiths.

He added: “If we can improve on last season’s final position and hopefully push for a top six finish, that would be a success in my eyes.

“We have the talent and it is my job to make sure the players are motivated week in week out and go out to every game with the correct attitude. We also want to play attractive and entertaining football.

“Behind the scenes, we want to get Buckingham Town back on the map and viewed in a positive light again.

“We have a strong committee now with everyone pulling their weight. Work is ongoing at the moment at Manor Fields and once that is completed, it will be great place to watch and play football.

“I would love it if we can get our fan base back onside and attending games again in the numbers they used too. It’s not ideal playing in Bletchley but I urge the fans to start coming to support again. I will make sure the players give their all for the club and give the fans a club and team they can be proud of again.

“At this moment, I have a squad of 20 players for the season and I’m still in talks with a couple more. I can only pick 16 for a match day so there will be players left out on a match day.

“Again it is my job to pick the right squad and also keep them all happy.”

Buckingham completed pre-season on Tuesday when they faced AFC Rushden & Diamonds, who made it back-to-back James Victory Cup triumphs by winning a thrilling game 5-4 at Manor Fields.

In an even encounter, the visitors took an early lead when James Harrison pounced on hesitant Town defending and beat goalkeeper Rokus Jasiulevicius before a fine solo effort from Mitch Brent brought Buckingham level.

Harrison netted his second on the stroke of half-time, though, and Rushden extended their lead further through Tom Lorraine’s header, but moments later Drew Mitten crossed for Joel McCormick to head home Town’s second.

With Town pushing for the equaliser, they were caught on the break as Lorraine made no mistake when clean through on goal before Harrison blasted high and wide from the penalty spot.

Despite looking down and out, the Robins produced a spirited fightback and scored twice in four minutes, first through Mitten and then Akin Iluyemi, to pull level, before Rushden snatched a last-gasp winner.

Robson said afterwards: “I felt we were unlucky not to win the game, we played some great stuff going forward and scored four fantastic goals.

“Overall, I have been very pleased with preseason. Training has been mainly been fitness focused and the lads are in great shape for the season.

“I have learnt a lot about my squad and they have also learnt a lot about the coaches and myself. We are all singing of the same hymn sheet which is a good sign going into our league opener Saturday.”