Eastwood need to consolidate at new higher level

Eastwood manager James Jepson has stressed his side must learn to walk before they can run after promotion to the new Step 5 United Counties League Premier Division North.

Tuesday, 22nd June 2021, 2:44 pm
Eastwood boss James Jepson.

Jepson wants the club to concentrate on consolidating their new status and enjoy the ride.

“It looks a good league,” he said. “From what we've heard the champions go up and the runners-up play a side in the relegation zone from the division above.

“We have got a decent squad, but we have to be realistic. Every single game is going to be tough as each other and we just need to make sure we stabilise ourselves at this level.

“Even though we do have this attachment to Eastwood Town we are a completely new club and this is the highest level this club has ever played at.

“We are in the FA Cup for the first time as well which is great.

“We want to do well and play decent football, but we need to get to grips with the standard.”

He added: “Quite a few teams look favourites to win it like Long Eaton and Gresley and we are nowhere near them. We will work hard on the training pitch and try to give youngsters a taste of the level.

“It's a fantastic challenge. But we have to learn to run before we can walk.

“We've all seen clubs who throw everything at promotion and go bust or have all their finances pulled.

“We have 34 teams and will have players who want to be here for the right reasons - and we will give it a good go.”

Jepson said he would make no promises of promotion from Step 5, though would have done had they stayed put.

“If we had stayed at Step 6 I would have said we were definitely going to try to win it. But we have to be realistic – and fans do as well,” he said.

“They're used to seeing us play good football, but we're going to be up against teams as good as and better than us.

“It would be easy to stay at the same standard every year and look good and play well. But it should be all about testing yourself against better players at the likes of Long Eaton and Gresley.

“There are also a few trips out so our fans get to go to places like Sleaford and Skegness. And it's nice to get the local derby back with Heanor.”

Pre-season training has now begun with a string of friendlies ahead

“We are back in this week and it's been probably three or four weeks since our last friendly against Kettering,” said Jepson.

“We have picked up a couple of players who will come in and train and take it from there.”