Nightingale: We are ready and raring to go
Posted by Andrew Dunn
Aug 16, 2018, 13:01
Ahead of the new season, City boss Robbie Nightingale speaks with Andrew Dunn about his hopes for the forthcoming campaign.
It was back at the beginning of May that Cambridge City saw their play-off dreams end when Hartley Wintney secured a 1-0 win and robbed the Lilywhites of an immediate return back to the Southern League top flght. Three months on, and Robbie Nightingale insists that the match is now well and truly water under the bridge and the club has moved on.
The City boss said “It was incredibly disappointing to lose the game and finish the season like we did. However, I’ve always been a forward thinking person and you cannot look back and think about what might have been. Instead we were left to reflect on what we’ve done and in the main; we had a good season but just fell short at the end. For the players who were involved in the game, we haven’t mentioned it in pre-season as our sole focus is on preparing for this campaign and doing well”.
With so much re-organisation to the non-league structure over the summer, Nightingale expects the task of getting out of the league to be harder than ever. “There are a lot of teams who did well last season who have transferred into our division. I can name teams like Corby and Didcot. Then you have the likes of Sutton Coldfield who have come down and will want an immediate return. I also rate teams like Thame and if they still have Daniel West in their team who got 30 plus goals for them, then I think they could do well. You also look at Bedford, the players they have signed and how they finished as also being contenders. So nothing is going to be easy”.
With several new players being added to the team, Nightingale believes his squad are in a better position than what they were at the beginning of last season. “When you look at what we are starting with now in comparison to what we started with last year, I would say we are beginning the season stronger. There are a couple more that will be coming in so I think I’ve got to be happy with the squad. That said, you always want more and we will always continue to look for other players.”
One of the new players is Joe Robinson, and Nightingale couldn’t be happier to have him at City. “I’m delighted we have Joe. He brings experience, leadership, and is a good voice to have at the back. He is a big signing for us, and I expect good things from him”.
The big hit for City last season was Ryan Sharman as he scored a hatful of goals as the Lilywhites narrowly missed out on promotion. Nightingale would be delighted if he repeated the same feat. “Ryan was excellent for us last season. However, I want all of our players to come to the fore. They know what is expected of them, and what their job in the team is. I am confident if we put in the hard work we will see the results”.
Despite new faces in the team, pre-season has not gone well so how does Nightingale explain one win from their six matches? The City boss said “We have to be honest and admit that it has been disappointing. But out of it I look at the 2-1 win at Bury and the 0-0 at St Ives as being the positives. The reason being is that we had 95% of players fit and available for those games, and we put in a good showing against good opposition on both occasions. You cannot take much from the rest of the pre-season matches. We’ve had players unavailable either through holidays or work commitments and then we’ve had injuries and even a sending off against Godmanchester so it’s been difficult but obviously we will be ready and raring to go on Saturday”.
Of the opponents on Saturday, Nightingale expects a tough contest. “It will be a real test for us. They have signed Gary Mulligan from Kettering and have an excellent manager too. They had a good season last year and it will be a very difficult game for us.
Corby are one of the teams that Nightingale expects to do well, but thinks there are others who are equally in with a chance. “I’ve mentioned Didcot, but we can’t rule out teams who we may not know much about. If you look at Hartley Wintney last year, then you also need to look at the likes of Yaxley, Peterborough Sports and Coleshill this year as to the teams who could spring a surprise”.
With City moving to Histon, Nightingale expects his team to enjoy playing at Bridge Road. He said “It’s a decent set-up and the team are looking forward to playing there. However, I also think the opposition will enjoy it too. Some of the teams we face will not play in a better environment, but we also need to make sure that we make it our home and have a good record which to be fair, is also what we had at St Ives. But anyone will tell you that home form is crucial if you are to succeed”.
Finally, Nightingale had a word for the fans. “The City supporters are just brilliant. The management and team have nothing but admiration for them, and a special word also to those who travel away and give up their Saturday to follow us all over the country. We want to give them something special this year. But we all know it won’t be easy, but it’s important we all pull together and keep the faith. We are all in it together and want the good times to return, and in time I am hopeful that it will happen”.
It all gets underway on Saturday afternoon when the Lilywhites entertain Corby. Kick-off at Bridge Road is at 3:00pm.
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