Wembley to a school pitch as Hornchurch begin pre-season after FA Trophy win
From Wembley Stadium to a school in Brentwood was the story for Hornchurch as they began preparations for the 2021/22 season.
Manager Mark Stimson has kept the nucleus of his FA Trophy-winning squad together after success at Wembley in May.
And he took them to face Kelvedon Hatch to begni pre-season, where they sealed an 8-0 victory, before beating Thurlow Nunn First Divison South side Frenford 3-0 on Tuesday.
“Fingers crossed we can have a full season and look forward to that, it was a good run out," said Stimson.
"We had a game on Saturday against Kelvedon Hatch. All the boys have had two 45 minutes, both on astro-turf, and we’ve looked ok. We’ve had a few missing for different reasons but whoever has played has done well.
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“When we played Kelvedon Hatch on Saturday, we played in a school in Brentwood, and we laughed and joked that our last game was at a famous stadium then our next game was at a school in Brentwood.
“That’s the level we’re at and that’s what we do, it was surreal that the first goal on Saturday was scored by Ellis Brown, who obviously scored the last goal of last season in the famous final.
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“Two good workouts, but now we look forward to a busy week, Canvey Island away on Saturday, then Southend United and Dagenham & Redbridge.
“Fitness levels will hopefully improve and like always in pre-season the main thing is to get through it without too many injuries so come the first game of the season you’ve got everyone available.”
The Urchins boss has called upon a few trialists and youth-team players to bolster squad numbers during pre-season.
He added: “The main thing about pre-season for me is to build fitness up, don’t get any injuries, and get through that then it doesn’t matter about results.
“We do need trialists and youth-team players, three or four came on in each game, and it’s good for them to join in and get a feel for it. We might get someone out of that group available for us come the start of the season.”
Hornchurch had already announced the returns of Liam Nash, Charlie Ruff, Ellis Brown and Chris Dickson and it has since been confirmed that Joe Wright, Mickey Parcell, Remi Sutton, Rickie Hayles, Jordan Clark, Harry Gibbs, Ronnie Winn, Ollie Muldoon, Joe Christou, Lewwis Spence, Sam Higgins, Charlie Stimson, Finlay Thackway and Sak Hassan are all set to stay.
“That was important, we kept as many as I would have liked to keep, and we look forward to a difficult and good season,” said Stimson.