Brantham are under no more pressure, says boss Tony Hall

BRANTHAM Athletic boss Tony Hall believes his side are under no more pressure than last season as the new Thurlow Nunn League campaign kicks-off “ridiculously early” tomorrow.

After challenging eventual winners Wroxham for the Premier Division title for most of last season before eventually finishing third, Brantham are being tipped in some quarters to go all the way this season.

Star striker Ollie Mann and centre back Tom Wray may have left for Ryman League Premier Division newcomers Leiston, but Hall has brought in four new signings - Michael Brothers has returned to the club from Leiston, while Angelo Harrop has joined from Needham Market and Ben Garnham and Matt Ryland have signed from Felixstowe & Walton United.

A fifth, former Leiston full back Blake Saker, looked set to start the season at Brantham until he was prised away by the lure of playing Ryman League Premier Division for Lowestoft Town.

Hall said: “Lowestoft approached Blake, but they did not realise he was on a contract with us. The club were not going to stand in his way and so we agreed to let him go.”

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Even without Saker Brantham appear to have a stronger squad than last season to mount a title challenge, but Hall said: “I don’t think there is any more pressure than last season because we finished the season before on a high.

“I am confident in the squad we have got - we just need to knit together a little bit better. Training has gone okay and our pre-season games have gone okay.”

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Brantham open the season tomorrow afternoon at Haverhill Rovers, and Hall admitted: “I don’t know who they have signed and how strong they will be - sometimes Haverhill produce really good teams - but we have got to go there and do what we have to do.”

Hall, who played locally for several sides after he was released by Ipswich Town, was critical of the starting date of the newly-named league.

“It is ridiculously early in my opinion. Years ago when I was playing we used to have lots of night games, but now we are starting on August 4 to fit in with the FA Cup.

“We want to play in the FA Cup because it can earn the club good money if you get through the early rounds, but this weekend is too early to start the league season.”

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