NEW Mangotsfield United manager John Allen’s preparations for life in the Hellenic League are well under way, with a whole host of new faces, including some triallists, appearing in the club’s seven pre-season friendlies.
A number of players from Allen’s old club Keynsham Town have followed him to Cossham Street, whilst most of last season’s relegated team appear to have now left the club.
The Mangos start the league season away to Royal Wotton Bassett Town on August 2 at 7.45pm, with the first home fixture a week later, on August 9, against Thornbury Town, also at 7.45pm.
In between comes a trip to neighbours Cadbury Heath in the FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round on August 6, with the winners travelling to Didcot Town on August 20 in the Preliminary Round.
Mangotsfield’s other August league fixtures are: Roman Glass St George (home) on August 13 at 3pm; Chipping Sodbury Town (away), August 16, 7.45pm; Wantage Town (home), August 23, 7.45pm; Bradford Town (away), August 29, 3pm.
Having never played in the Hellenic League before, to an extent the club is entering the unknown, but it is clear their 22-year stay in the Southern League puts a target on their backs.
They will take some heart from the fact that former Southern League rivals Bishops Cleeve, relegated into the Hellenic League a couple of years ago, won promotion in April.
The club has recently announced the formation of a reserve side playing in the Bristol and Suburban League Premier Division and an A team playing in the Bristol and Suburban League Division 1, to expand the opportunities for younger players working through the juniors, and the wider local community, to represent the club.