DARREN Byfield feels he will have a point to prove with Stratford Town — and so will every single player in his revamped squad.
Byfield takes charge of his first competitive game on Saturday when Town kick off the new Southern Premier Central campaign at home to St Neots Town.
The former Redditch United boss replaced long-serving Carl Adams in the summer, and his close-season revamp has brought in 16 new recruits to join eight players from last term.
Centre-half Jordan Williams, from Brackley Town and experienced keeper Nathan Vaughan, whose CV includes playing for Soihull Moors in the National League, are the latest additions.
After his experience in being axed by Redditch last Christmas, the ex-Aston Villa and Walsall forward is thoroughly excited by the challenge ahead with Town. The focus, he stressed, will be simply on taking one match at a time.
“People say do you feel you’ve got a point to prove after what happened, getting sacked by Redditch,” said Byfield. “I do but I’ve got a point to prove in every game. So has every player.
“You look at Ronaldo and even being named the world’s best player he still has something to prove, to prove he is better than Messi.
“I want to prove I can manage and be successful, to produce a good team and good players.”
Stratford have been a work in pre-season, with their friendly programme ending with a 2-2 draw last Thursday against a youthful Leicester City squad at the Arden Garages Stadium. The Foxes led 2-0 after 34 minutes but Edwin Ahenkorah and Lewis Wilson, who was with St Neots after playing for Northampton Town’s first team brought Stratford level.
Town have needed to tighten up defensively, with defenders Jamie McAteer, who joins from Bedworth United, and Williams adding extra options.
But Byfield says such tweaks of formation and personnel have been part of the pre-season development.
“I’ve tried a few formations, a few players, which isn’t ideal, but I’ve only had the players for six weeks and we’ve progressed,” said the boss.
“I believe we come up with a formation which suits the players and which I hope will bring us the results. We want to play football, be aggressive and entertain the fans.
“It’s a case of getting the balance right. In the first few pre-season games, we conceded way too many goals but we need to get the balance right between attack and defence.”
Byfield has been busy over the weekend adding five new players. As well as Williams, Wilson and McAteer, Town have snapped up former Kettering Town winger Wilson Carvalho, forward Josh Cooke, whose was on Wolves and Swindon’s books before spells with AFC Telford, and Stourbridge.
Cooke is set to link up with Wolverhampton Sporting for a short loan spell to boost his fitness while Jack Coates is also expected to go out on loan. The former Redditch and Villa player is returning after a season out with injury and needs match practice.