Hemel Town have been handed a big boost ahead of their National League South opener against Dartford on Saturday as manager Dean Brennan revealed new signing Jamie Slabber will be fit for the game.
Ex-Bromley striker Slabber was a big doubt for the clash, but he was passed fit after training with the team this morning, along with defender David King and goalkeeper Jamie Butler, who have also recovered from minor injuries.
New skipper James Potton may also feature against Dartford, but he will be assessed on Saturday morning before any firm decision is made.
Speaking at the club’s new training base in Bushey, Brennan said: “Potton will be assessed again on Saturday but Slabber is back, which is a real bonus – he trained with us this morning.
“King is also fit – he trained this morning which is another bonus, and Butler is fit so we have got a few players back from injury. At the moment it’s Frendo and Asafu-Adjaye out long term.
“I don’t think anybody will be properly match-fit until we have played five or six proper games when three points are on the line.
The way we play, we are attack-minded, so we will go out there and try and win the game.Hemel Town FC manager Dean Brennan
“We haven’t played a lot together which is a problem, and it will take the team a little while to gel. But we will just be taking it game by game and see how we get on on Saturday.”
Hemel go into the 2015/16 campaign on the back of a promising debut season in the Conference South last time out, and Brennan says the squad is raring to go for Saturday’s opener.
“It’s exciting and everyone is looking forward to the game,” he said. “Hopefully we can have a positive result and hit the ground running.
“I saw Dartford play last year and the manager knows the league really well. They have got some good experience in their ranks, even though they have signed some younger players.
“They are a big football club for our division and for the last three seasons they have been playing in the full Conference. It’s a tough task for us but it will be a great game.
“It’s a brilliant opening game for our football club and our supporters. We are going to have a big gate – I think all the other local clubs are away this weekend – so it’s a game that myself and the players are really looking forward to.
“Our supporters were brilliant last season and hopefully they will get behind us again on Saturday as we try to make the first game of the season another special occasion.”
And Brennan insists that, despite missing a few key players, his side will be going all out for the win at Vauxhall Road.
“The way we play, we are attack-minded, so we will go out there and try and win the game; we try and win every game,” said the Hemel boss. “I know one thing – we have an honest bunch of lads and they will work their socks off.”
Following the Dartford game, the Tudors have just one day’s rest before travelling to Chelmsford City on Monday night for their second league fixture of the season.
“It will be another great game for us on Monday because Chelmsford are another big team in our league. It’s just exciting to be at this level and playing against these kinds of clubs,” said Brennan.
Looking ahead to the season as a whole, the Irishman added: “We have set ourselves a points target and we will just be taking things game by game. If we reach our points target and someone beats it, I’ll take my hat off to them because they will be the best team.
“It will be a tougher division than last season with some top clubs competing, but we can only concentrate on ourselves and how we can affect things. It’s probably the toughest division in the whole of non-league because of the finances involved.”
Finally, Brennan confirmed that new signing Ian Rees is going straight out on loan to Biggleswade Town.
The 19-year-old joined the Tudors from Luton, but could not be guaranteed regular first team football this season.
“Ian Rees has signed for Biggleswade on what is basically a loan deal,” said Brennan. “He needs game time and needs to be playing week-in week-out, and they have pretty much guaranteed him that.
“He is still a young development player so it is a good opportunity for him.”