Colney Heath can live up to expectations after Southern League stay says the boss

Connor Sansom saved a penalty in the shootout win over London Colney in the Dave Brock Cup.

Connor Sansom saved a penalty in the shootout win over London Colney in the Dave Brock Cup. - Credit: KARYN HADDON

Colney Heath are hoping to bring the experience gathered from their short stay in the Southern League and apply it to another tilt at the Spartan South Midlands League title.

The Magpies are back in the familiar surroundings of the SSML Premier Division after their relegation but manager Ant Burns is confident they can live up to people's belief that they will be challengers.

He said: "We have had a bit of a change over in players again but not too much and there is an expectation.

"I’ll try and take a lot of that on my shoulders and that comes down to decision making with personnel and using the friendlies to look at different things. 

"It will be a completely different season in terms of what’s needed. 

"We have to be tenacious, we have to be industrious, the top sides in the Spartan are all those things and that’s what we’ll look to do. 

"Hopefully we’ll rise to that and hit the ground running."

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The season restarts properly on Tuesday with a trip to close neighbours Harpenden Town and the boss is expecting the revision of football at this level to be a tough crash course.

Burns said: "I watched Harpenden and they are a tidy squad. They look like they are working hard together and it will be a tough opening fixture in a local game. 

"We’ve got Hertford away after that [in the FA Cup] so we will be straight into it but we’ll be looking to kick on."

Among their pre-season preparations was the Dave Brock Cup, played against rivals London Colney, and retained after a penalty shoot-out success following a 0-0 draw.

Burns said: "There was more of a competitive edge to it which helped and you don’t want to lose any pre-season friendly but especially a Dave Brock Cup match against you closest rivals. 

"I’m pleased with the clean sheet, we had a couple of trialists and one definitely impressed. 

"We got some minutes into key players which is a positive. 

"We wanted to get that and to work on things, making it clear how we want to play, and we did that for 25 minutes. 

"Credit to them they kept the ball well at times and there wasn’t a lot of chances for either side but both keepers have been involved to a certain degree. 

"It was all positive."