Bletchley Town skipper Wasim Fayyaz says promotion back to the Cherwell League Division One this year would be a bonus as the club looks to blood some young guns.
Bletchley were relegated from Division One after finishing second bottom of the pile in 2012, and ironically begin life in Division Two against the side who finished one place below them last year.
But the Bletchley team to run out at home to Oxford & Bletchingdon Nondescripts on Saturday will be completely different to that which earned a win against them near the end of a disappointing season last summer.
Unfortunately for the men from Manor Fields, that win was just their second of a long, hard season in the top flight, and their relegation sparked significant changes going into this campaign.
Among those to leave the club were James Ward, Mark Roberts, James Sprittles and Graham Simpson, as well as long-serving skipper James Clark.
His departure has left the door open to Fayyaz to captain the team in one of their most challenging ever seasons. He says he is up to the job, but is not expecting too much from his players during a summer of transition.
“I think I’d be happy just to keep our place in the division this season,” he said. “Getting close to promotion would be a bonus.
“We have got quite a young team this year so there will be a lot of learning involved and as long as we keep our place in Division Two that would be good enough for me.
“A lot of the guys who left had played together for a long time, so I guess it was natural for them to leave at the same time.
“Some of them didn’t live locally, like James Clark, so it was understandable that they wanted to move on.
“I was the Wolverton Town 2nds captain for four seasons so I’m quite experienced.
“Hopefully we’ll see some good things from our players who have moved up from the 2nds this year.”
Bletchley are hoping for good things from the likes of Sam Newman and 16-year-old Jamie Galvin during the next few months, and Fayyaz, 28, thinks Bletchley’s relegation might even prove to be a good thing in the long run.
“It has given us a chance to start again and give the youth a try – which is what I want to do,” he said.
“It will be a tough game on Saturday but I’m confident we can get off to a winning start.”
Also in Division Two this weekend, Wolverton Town’s season starts at home against Challow and Childrey, while Great Brickhill take on Oxford Downs in Division One.