Sport

Captain's view of the new season

STANLEY skipper Peter Cavanagh gives us his low-down on how the 2005-6 campaign might shape up ...

STANLEY skipper Peter Cavanagh gives us his low-down on how the 2005-6 campaign might shape up ...

THE players can't wait for the season to start now. Pre-season always seems to take forever and now we are all geared up for Canvey Island and Altrincham and know we need to get off to a similar start to last season - where we won four of our first five games.

It is a tricky start for us as most people will expect us to pick up six points against two part-time sides.

But Stuart Bimson has signed for Canvey and he is a quality player, as we know from his time at Accrington, so it will be a tough game. First games of the season always are as players are finding their feet.

And then it's Altrincham and that is one that Ian Craney, in particular with it being his old club, is looking forward to. I think that is why he has worked so hard on his fitness over the summer and he is looking good!

That has the added spice of Accrington old boys Lutel James and Gary Williams playing for them. As a newly promoted club, they will be like us a couple of seasons ago, on a high after getting promoted. So we know what to expect.

It has been a summer of comings and goings. Obviously we were disappointed to see Rory (Prendergast) and Lee (McEvilly) go as they are tough ones to replace. I do think, though, for Rory we have a ready made replacement in Gary Roberts while Lee will be harder but in David Brown and Paul Mullin we have two of the best forwards in the league who will score goals for us. We may miss Lee's explosive pace but Andy Magnan is a quick forward, he is keen and a realhandful.

But the new signings have settled in quickly.

I think Stuart Jones is a big presence and a colossal goalkeeper. He uses his mouth as well and I think he could be probably one of the best acquisitions this season. He is a communicator and barks orders and I think is a great signing. He has been christened "Anthony" off Big Brother as he is the spitting image of him

Andy Tretton is a player I knew well from my England days and we couldn't believe it when we heard he hadn't agreed a deal with Hereford. He is another good signing and has been disappointed with his injury this season. He hasn't got a nickname yet although Jaggers (Steve Jagielka) is working on it. Andy has come up with a few ones for Jaggers with "Rod Stewart" sticking at the moment and Jaggers doesn't like that so he is biding his time to get some revenge on Andy.

Matt O'Neill we know from last year and he has plenty of ability. I think he spends every afternoon in the gym as he is well cut and I reckon he is after following Jon Smith in the body stakes. His nickname is "Rodney" off "Only Fools and Horses".

Michael Welch has just signed but I have seen him play as my friend used to play at Macclesfield alongside him. I am going to ring my friend to get the gossip on him, then spread it around and I am sure we will soon come up with an appropriate nickname for him.

Danny Ventre is a new signing but he has taken over from Chris Butler as the mental one! He is one sandwich short of a picnic. I am sure he won't mind me saying this....

And Andy Magnan and Leam Richardson haven't yet been here long enough to give them our own nicknames. We will let them settle in first.....

For me, the pre-season has been so frustrating. Last season, I spent the last few games feeling helpless as we dropped out of the play-off positions and was unable to do anything about it as I was on the sidelines with an ankle injury. I had come back raring to go, played half a game against Radcliffe Borough and then the injury flared up again. It was such a blow but hopefully the injection I have had will keep me going for a while. It is hard work though just watching pre-season. It is just missing out on everything with the lads and not playing the games .

I wasn't really bothered that people were coming in and playing in my position as I just wanted to get back and fit and play football. It has been so frustrating so it was nice to come back in the Stalybridge game last week.

Now I have just got to hope I get the nod on Saturday after playing against Burscough on Wednesday night and fingers-crossed I can start and help us to our first three points of the campaign.