Manager Robbie Mason ahead of Soham Town Rangers' 12th straight season at Step 4 in the BetVictor League North Division
While he believes that a play-off push should not be ruled out, manager Robbie Mason has conceded he would be content if his Soham Town Rangers side did not spend the upcoming BetVictor League North Division campaign looking nervously over their shoulders.
It has been a tough job for Mason ever since he replaced Robbie Nightingale in the dugout midway through the 2016/17 season.
Yet, for all of the trials and tribulations, he has managed to keep the club’s head above water at Step 4 – with the Greens set to embark on a 12th straight season at that level.
And following a busy summer in terms of comings and goings, Mason is feeling more positive than ever before with regard to the outlook for his team.
“I feel like we are in a good place. Maybe three or four weeks ago it did not look as bright in terms of the squad, but there was always plenty of time left and we have brought in some real quality,” he said.
“The technical ability throughout the pre-season has been a joy to watch. To see the players linking and forming understandings so quickly, that is really pleasing.
“We are aware that we cannot afford to get to ahead of ourselves or overly carried away, but we should not ignore the positives either.
“At the start of the season we always want to be looking at the play-offs and being competitive with the top teams.
“Of course it is going to be tough – there is massive money floating around and it is a very strong league.
“The main priority though is to be in and around mid-table – if you get to that sort of position by Christmas it sets you up for a good second half.
“Last year was very testing, there were times when we could not buy a goal and felt like every decision was going against us – that happens when you are down the bottom.
“We put some play-off form together to stay up last year and who knows what will happen this season if we can start well. Everything around the place is feeling as positive as I have known it.”
In terms of summer recruits, Mason is likely to head to Maldon & Tiptree for Saturday’s season opener (3pm) and Tuesday’s home derby against Histon (7.45pm) with six new faces.
Two of those will be twin brothers Jake and Toby Andrews, both of whom have made an impression after a recent stint with lower-league Duxford.
And as Mason explains, football is not the only sport in which the 24-year-olds have excelled.
“They spent a bit of time recently out in America on basketball scholarships,” he revealed.
“To be fair to both of them, they have been in different class since they came in and they are great lads.
“Neil Andrews (former Soham midfielder) is their cousin and they come from a real football family.
“They want to work hard and learn, which is not always the case. Hopefully they can be key players for us this season.”