FA Competitions Target - 8 August
New College Academy director Ian Howell has set his sights on the One West side qualifying for the FA Cup next season.
The student side missed out on getting into the world’s most famous domestic knock-out cup competition this term. When the new campaign gets underway tomorrow, Howell wants the youngsters, who will be managed by Mark Teasdale this term, to make a push for a finish in the top eight of Uhlsport Hellenic League Division One West.
“This is going to be a big year for us at the college,” Howell said. “We have got three sides running and for the boys in the Hellenic side, we have set them a few targets. Obviously we want to improve on last year, get a few more points on the board, and hopefully that will be enough to qualify for the FA Cup next season. It is a big deal to be in the FA Youth Cup, but now we want to establish ourselves in the FA Cup and the FA Vase. The points target to get into the competition changes each year but I think that if we can finish in the top eight then that should be enough - that is the challenge that the boys have.”
With New College fielding students, Howell admits that the players are going to have to deal with the severe physical demands of the Hellenic League as they make the transition from youth to senior football. “If the boys are confident in what they are doing then we will be fine,” Howell said. “If we can start the season well and play with confidence then we can do well. We shouldn’t have any problems with the fitness side of things and if we can manage the boys properly, we should have a good balance. Of course there are going to be sides that it is going to be tough against - teams like Purton have put together a strong squad.”
Howell admits that the challenge for his team of New College coaches begins when the under 17 and under 18 sides get under way sometime in September. “At the moment we have got a big squad and we’ve been back training since July,” he said. “Our recruitment this summer has been good. The Hellenic team will be made up mainly of third years - it will be up to the rest to try and force their way into the side.”