Orchard ready for Robins challenge

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BUCKINGHAM Town manager Steve Orchard is all set for his first game in charge of the club when they host Raunds Town at Manor Fields later today.

Orchard, who took over from Kit Bamber at the end of last season, has re-shaped the squad and is still hoping to add one or two new faces.

His side have experienced a mixed pre-season with the highlight coming last weekend when they lifted the James Victory Cup after beating Banbury United 3-2.

In an even match at Manor Fields, Town drew first blood when Chris Robson was hauled down by the Banbury keeper in the penalty area before converting.

Tom Lorraine levelled the scores shortly afterwards before the visitors took the lead early in the second half when a long ball caught the Buckingham defence out.

It took a mere five minutes for the Robins to respond through Nick Bines after a flowing move.

Buckingham put some heavy pressure on the Banbury defence and, as penalties loomed, the winner arrived in the form of a thumping header from Joel McCormick following a pinpoint cross from Dean Bland.

The victory will be a welcome boost for Orchard, who is confident ahead of the new season.

In the lead up to the game against Raunds, he said: “I haven’t decided on my squad yet because we have a few fringe players who are eager to impress and we may bring in someone else.

“I think the players feel the club underachieved last season because we’ve got some good players but there are some very good teams in this league.

“I won’t set any targets, not like top one or top two. We just want to be as competitive as we can be and make it as difficult for other teams as much as we can.

“I’m not going to put the pressure on the players because I want them to enjoy playing for the club. It’ll be a very competitive league, probably the toughest I’ve known a UCL Division One league to be.

“Every game will be hard in this league. Nobody likes to lose their first game and we’re the same – we want to get some points on the board early.”

Orchard is also keen to bring in at least one more face, with a centre-back at the top of his wish-list.

He added: “I’m happy with how the squad is shaping up but we’re not finished yet in terms of bringing in players.

“I’m looking for a commanding centre-back for the last piece of the jigsaw. I think we’ve found him and we’re hoping it’ll be in place by Saturday.

“Pre-season has gone well but not every game has gone to plan.

“I had a holiday midway through pre-season which is rare for me and I think that disrupted things.

“But we had played very well in a friendly the other day. The only thing missing was goals and we won 3-0 but we could have won 15-0 because we played them off the park.

“Then we had a brilliant game against Banbury, which the players really wanted to win and get some silverware.

“We’ve been playing some good football and we’ve kept the ball well and played from the back.

“Hopefully we can keep that going into the season.”