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Chesham quietly confident ahead of big kick-off
CHESHAM United are many people’s favourites to go up automatically from the Southern Premier League this season, having had so many near misses, but manager Andy Leese has seen it all before.
His team have never finished outside the top six in all his time at the Meadow, but alongside the promotions there have also been a few near misses.
He said: “We’ve been tipped by a few people, but we’re not putting any pressure on ourselves.
“I’d like to think we’ll be good enough to avoid the lottery of the play-offs, or at the very least match what we did last year and be in and around it and give ourselves a chance.”
Chesham were beaten in the promotion play-offs last season, but it was a campaign of extremes; top after six weeks, second from bottom at Christmas and then a gargatuan climb up the league to make the play-offs.
By then though, they were a spent force and lost in the semi-finals.
Leese said: “That run took it out of us last year and if we’re honest we were out on our feet in the last three or four games.
“We can’t do what we did last season. We can’t slide down the table and then hope for a run.
“That’s not acceptable, we’re better than that and after ten games I’d like to think we’ll be up there with the top five, top eight and within a few points of the lead.”
Four wins and two draws from six pre-season games suggest they’re in decent shape, and Leese is particularly pleased with the last three games – a 1-1 draw with Carshalton Athletic, a 3-1 win over Oxford City and a 1-0 win over Concord Rangers.
Leese said: “Results don’t matter in pre-season but we played three good sides and I pleased to have conceded just one goal in the first two games and none in the last one.”
That said, defence could be a weak point for Chesham in the early weeks of the season, with Shane Gore and Daniel Braithwaite injured and Danny Gudgeon unlikely to re-sign for the club.
However, Leese has brought in centre back Alex Brown from Slough and was running the rule over another defender at training last night.
He said: “It’s been a bit of a challenging last couple of weeks, but it’s been a good pre-season.
“The players we’ve brought in have settled in well and the attitude has been excellent.”
Chesham host Bideford on Saturday before going to Arelsey on Tuesday night.
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