Big squad brings challenges but that is good for the club says Colney Heath’s gaffer

Colney Heath manager Ryan Thompson is expecting a few selection headaches this year. Picture: DANNY

Colney Heath manager Ryan Thompson is expecting a few selection headaches this year. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

Colney Heath manager Ryan Thompson says the competition for places at the Recreation Ground will be the driving force behind any title push in this season’s Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division.

The Magpies go into the campaign heavily involved in the conversation about the potential winners of the shield after finishing last year with a run of 11 games without a defeat, one that included victories over eventual champions Biggleswade and their rivals Tring Athletic.

The summer business has been particularly impressive too with the league's top scorer from 2017 Jon Clements leading the incoming players.

But all of that is backstopped by the club's amazing ability to develop and blood youth players.

Thompson said: "We've got a big squad this year backed up by this next crop of youngsters which is important.

"Ben Weyman and Jack McShane have played a big part in what we're doing and we want to give Cillian Dean a go because he's looked very tidy in training.

"He's a feisty little so and so. He was kicking Dan Power in training so we knew he could handle himself.

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"Gary McShane has brought a lot of really good youngsters down and their attitude is first-class.

"They turn up to training and do it right, they're on time and they're a really good group.

"It's good headaches for us."

In fact so impressive have the latest group of talented kids been that Thompson says some of the senior players may have to watch their backs too.

"We just have to get the balance right," he admitted, "especially with the attacking options because at times it hasn't quite flowed.

"Without Danny Fitzgerald we struggle to pass the ball well but Chris Griffin has stepped in and had a really good pre-season.

"Jack McShane is a really clever player. For a young lad to lead the line the way he does is fantastic.

"Ben can play in a few different positions for us so it's ideal really.

"It's what we need."

He says some may get disgruntled with not playing in the first team but with Colney Heath's development side taking their place in the Herts Senior League this season, he says the chance is there to play in a tough league and battle for their place in the squad.

He said: "It's good for the club and hopefully we'll get it right and have a little bit of fortune along the way we'll be up there, especially if we can carry on that momentum from the way we finished last season.

"If we're in the top five or six with a month or so to go we'll be happy. There is no saying exactly what we're going to do but we'll just go along with it."