Positive atmosphere at Colney Heath already making this year enjoyable

At 22, captain Sam Doolan is one of the many promising youngsters at Colney Heath. Picture: KARYN HA

At 22, captain Sam Doolan is one of the many promising youngsters at Colney Heath. Picture: KARYN HADDON - Credit: Archant

You can’t help but notice the positive atmosphere at Colney Heath Football Club – and it is this enthusiastic environment, as well as a fine group of youngsters, which management believe can lift the club into the top reaches of the table.

They finished their pre-season campaign with a 1-0 win against Stevenage U18s last Thursday.

And while that was mightily impressive, the emphatic 8-2 win over St Margaretsbury in the Herts Charity Shield on Tuesday blew it out of the water.

Lee Armitt, who got the goal against Stevenage, hit a hat-trick against The Bury with Jimmy Hill’s brace and singles from Stef Geraldes, Dave Parkinson and Spencer Clarke-Mardel completing the rout.

But those impressive performances all come from what Tom Garratt describes as “the best pre-season I’ve ever had”.

He said: “We’re coaching the little things and in pre-season that’s so encouraging.

“It’s so enthusiastic, it’s a great atmosphere to work in as a coach because we’re working on the tiny details in respect of the shape.

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“We’re not necessarily working on the fitness because its already there. The boys have got the commitment to do it and that’s half the battle at our level.”

The other pleasing point for Garratt is the progression of what is a young side.

Over half the team are teenagers with another five or six waiting in the wings.

“We’ve got a really strong squad,” said Garratt, “but we’re making sure we’re bringing the youngsters through as well.

“That’s what the club wants. When I came in I was shocked and the quality and strength in depth.

“The youngsters have come in with the right attitude and right work-ethic. It’s a long season but in respect of where we want to be in pre-season, this has probably been the most enjoyable I’ve had.”

And manager Ryan Thompson is keeping the pressure off by not setting specific targets.

“We just want to compete,” he said. “If we beat the club’s best performance, that’s a plus.

“We’re not saying we’re going to win the league but if we can match third, excellent or if we fall short and finish fourth but we’ve brought a lot of youngsters through and progressed the club or had a good cup run, excellent.

There’s no pressure to achieve anything. As long as the lads enjoy it and compete, we’ll be happy.”