New Harpenden boss Martin Standen happy with progress as he runs rule over squad

PUBLISHED: 06:33 03 August 2019

Harpenden Town in pre-season action against Ware at Roundwood Park School.

Harpenden Town in pre-season action against Ware at Roundwood Park School.

Archant

It's all change quite literally at Harpenden Town as Martin Standen begins his era in the managerial hotseat at Rothamsted Park.

Harpenden Town's new manager Martin Standen seen in action for Colney Heath. Picture: DANNY LOOHarpenden Town's new manager Martin Standen seen in action for Colney Heath. Picture: DANNY LOO

The former Colney Heath and Royston Town man has taken over after Danny Plumb's five-year reign ended last season and he takes over needing to rebuild entirely.

Only a handful of players remain and Standen, who joined the club for Herts Senior League Bovingdon, says pre-season has partly been about bringing in new faces and evaluating what he has at his disposal.

Colney Heath V Histon - Josh Humbert in action for Colney Heath.


Picture: Karyn HaddonColney Heath V Histon - Josh Humbert in action for Colney Heath. Picture: Karyn Haddon

He said: "When I came here I didn't really have anything so I've brought a whole new squad into the club.

"For me it is about seeing what I've got and bearing in mind the first three games were against much higher opposition, we were superb.

Jimmy Hartley takes on a defenderJimmy Hartley takes on a defender

"We dropped our levels against Bedford and we dropped it again against Ware because it wasn't anywhere near the standards of the games against Kings Langley or Royston.

"I've only brought four from Bovingdon with the rest coming from my network of contacts and where I've played before.

Colney Heath V Arlesey Town - Josh Humbert for Colney Heath battles with Lorrell Smith for Arlesey Town


Picture: Karyn HaddonColney Heath V Arlesey Town - Josh Humbert for Colney Heath battles with Lorrell Smith for Arlesey Town Picture: Karyn Haddon

"There are another couple of new faces coming in but we've got about 15 who are all brand new to the club.

"That's going to take time to gel together but there are positives despite the results and we're getting there.

Jimmy HartleyJimmy Hartley

"We will give it a good go this season and hopefully we will be there or thereabouts."

Some of those new players will be familiar to fans of both Harps and the league itself, as they include former Colney Heath man Josh Humbert and Jimmy Hartley, returning to the club after a few seasons away.

Colney Heath V Histon - Josh Humbert in action for Colney Heath.


Picture: Karyn HaddonColney Heath V Histon - Josh Humbert in action for Colney Heath. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Standen still thinks there are tweaks needed, especially surrounding fitness and sharpness, and he feels they need some vocal leaders but admitted "it is more positive than negative".

As for his plans for the Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division he was bullish about the team's chances when he took over and he has no reason to have changed them now, even if the works surrounding the rebuild of the neighbouring leisure centre is delaying their return to Rothamsted Park.

Standen said: "We've got three league games away from home so it's just prolonging our return but that gives us time to get the pitch a little bit better.

"I am happy with where we are at the moment."

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