Ilford boss starts plans for opening day

Action from the pre-season friendly between Barkingside and Ilford (Pic: Jessica Haywood)

Action from the pre-season friendly between Barkingside and Ilford (Pic: Jessica Haywood) - Credit: Archant

Haywood’s Foxes face Sawbridgeworth test first.

Ilford were handed an opening-day trip to Sawbridgeworth when the fixtures for the 2013-14 Essex Senior League season were released on Sunday.

The Foxes will travel to Crofters End on August 10, before hosting Basildon at Cricklefield four days later, and new boss Martin Haywood is working on his game-plan.

He said: “What I normally do is analyse the team we’re going to play, observe most of their players and work out a strategy on how to break them down.

“This is a new football club with no knowledge of the other teams so we can’t do that here.

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“What we need to do is go into games with our eyes wide open, assess the first half and locate their weaknesses. From there we can try and win the match.”

Last season was certainly one to forget for the club as they lost 30 Ryman Division One North matches, conceding 105 goals and finished bottom of the table.

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Their subsequent relegation led to a complete revamp, with a new manager and fresh set of players all installed as they bid to bounce back.

Haywood added: “There are 20 teams in this league, all starting on equal points, so of course we want promotion, but we aren’t silly.

“First we need stability. The club has been on its knees for a while now, so there’s definitely work to be done here.

“My main goal right now is to get some good attractive football out of the lads here, in the first team and the reserves. Then we can see where we can go from there.”

Based on their results in pre-season, Haywood’s new-look Ilford have done quite well, considering the group has only been together for six weeks.

He added: “We’ve played four pre-season games where I’ve had a look at trialists. A lot of have done well.

“There have been games where we’ve played some good football, passing the hell out of teams – Harold Wood of the Essex Olympian League, in particular, where we beat them 4-3.”

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