Connors and Manor braced for difficult battle with Saxons
PUBLISHED: 17:00 30 August 2018
The New Zealander enjoyed a lengthy spell with this weekend's opponents
Jamie Connors expects Eton Manor to face a tough test on Saturday in their London One North opener at home to relegated Southend Saxons.
The fixture will be the first on the recently installed AGP pitch at the New Wilderness and everyone at the Wanstead-based club is buoyant.
Manor are holding several games during the day and the contest with Southend will carry greater significance for Connors more than most.
He explained: “I was player, captain and coach at Saxons for over nine years, so I had lots of different roles during that period.
“Obviously I know the club quite well, but time has moved on and I don’t know too many of the players now except for maybe one or two.
“A good friend of mine, Sid (Simon) Hoult, has gone back there as player-coach and I played with him for a number of years.
“I know him really well and it will be good to catch up with him, he is a good guy and will do a good job for them, so it’s a tough one first up for us.”
The New Zealander believes the division as a whole will be difficult to predict with some of the teams coming up not there to make the numbers.
Meanwhile, Saxons have generally been a National League club and in terms of Manor’s aims, last term they finished fifth again and this time around they are eager to kick on.
“I think it’s a tough one this season. First the league looks the toughest we’ve had for a long time,” Connors said.
“We have some good teams coming up like Rochford Hundred and H.A.C, they are both keen to push on and then you have strong sides coming down which have been well above London One North like Southend Saxons, who are our first game.
“The depth of the league looks, on paper, stronger than last season, but nevertheless we always want to improve where we finished previously.
“For us, that is always a starting point, so we’ve come fifth the last two years and we certainly want to better that.
“Last season we should have been higher than fifth, but we fell away in the last couple games, so a top-three finish is a natural target for us and we’ll see how we get on with that.”