Hendon boss Gray relishing trip to Frome on opening day
PUBLISHED: 13:00 10 August 2018
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Greens hit the road on Saturday for first league game of new season
Hendon manager James Grays is relishing being away from home to Frome Town on the opening day of the new Evo-Stik South Premier South season, writes Ned Keating.
The Greens begin the term with a round-trip of over 230 miles on Saturday to face the Robins, a length of journey few bosses would be pleased with first up.
But with Hendon having seen plenty of changes to both their coaching staff and playing squad over the summer, Gray believes the trip may benefit his team.
“I’m hoping that on the journey down to Frome, the players can gel together a bit more,” he said.
“It’s a completely new team and everyone is still getting to know each other, but if we can foster a good spirit, that will help us going forward.
“Frome isn’t the easiest of places to go to with the pitch being on a bit of a slope, but you have to set up right and there are three points up for grabs.”
It’s been a hectic summer for Hendon, who last season narrowly missed out on promotion to the Vanarama National League South after losing the Bostik Premier play-off final to Dulwich Hamlet on penalties.
Since then, the Greens have been transferred across to the Evo-Stik South Premier South, while former boss Gary McCann joined Hampton & Richmond Borough and took several players with him.
It’s not been the easiest of periods for Gray to settle in with his new club, and the boss admits it has been a difficult summer.
“With everything that’s gone on this year, pre-season wasn’t long enough for us to build a squad and get it to gel together,” he added.
“I’m happy with the team I’ve got, but I feel we’re starting the season a little undercooked and maybe two or three weeks behind where I’d want us to be.”
Hendon are also in action on Tuesday night when they welcome Walton Casuals to Silver Jubilee Park for their first home league game of the new season.
And with two games coming in the first week of the new campaign, Gray will hope to get his tenure off to a solid start by collecting at least one win from those opening fixtures.