From the dugout: Lenny Sullivan ahead of Prestwich Heys

West coach Lenny Sullivan’s notes ahead of our match against Prestwich Heys, taken from the match programme – available for £2 on the gate.

Good evening and welcome to The Step Places Stadium for this evening’s match against our local neighbours Prestwich Heys. I would like to welcome the supporters, players and staff from Prestwich and thank you for joining us this evening.  

The squad and coaches have enjoyed our summers but have been itching to get back to competitive football once again. Our main aims for preseason were to integrate our new players, build our match fitness and experiment with new systems for the upcoming season. We achieved all of these aims and now we’re really looking forward to the proper football starting. 

On Saturday we left Ashton Athletic with a point after a hard fought 1-1 draw. It’s certainly a match that we did enough to win but a draw away from home in our first match back in this league is something that we take the positives from. As is always the case, at this stage of the season we still have player absences and players who are still one or two games away from reaching full fitness. Ben took his goal well and it’s really pleasing to see him getting off the mark straight away in what will be a really important season for him.  

Losing a player like Sam Heathcote is always going to take a lot of getting used to and is not going to be easy to replace but so far we’ve been happy with how the team have adjusted. We’re a young team who should keep getting better and better as long as motivation and effort remains high. We’re not looking for one player in the team to replace Sam’s goals and leadership, we’re expecting a rise in the levels of all the players and a shared responsibility to improve as a team.

We’ve been really pleased with how the new signings have fitted in so far. Ben Hampson, Callum Graham, Armel Zola and Markell Foulds join to strengthen our defence; Sam Dickinson and Peter Lacovou give us more midfield options and Curtis Miller rejoins us to add to our attacking threat. We welcome all of the players to West and we’re sure that our supporters will quickly show them what a great club they have joined.  

The team are really excited for tonight, which is our first home match back in the NWCFL Premier and we’re hoping for a great atmosphere under the lights at home. The support that was shown away at Ashton Athletic was amazing and really makes a difference especially at this new higher level. If we’re going to have a good season, our home form is really important and our amazing supporters play a huge part in that.

Tonight’s game is not going to be easy. Prestwich are a good side and will be looking to start the season well under their new management. We enjoyed a very entertaining 3-4 victory against them in the cup last season and we know that we will need to play very well if we’re going to get the three points tonight. It promises to be a really tough but entertaining match. 

Thanks for your support.  

Come on West! 

Lenny