Ahead of the our game at Aldershot, we bring you the views of an Aldershot fan, Stephen Aspinall.
Having drawn with Wolves at Molineaux in The Capital One Cup and beaten Plymouth at the weekend we will come into this game with plenty of confidence but having supported The Shots for 30 plus years I know never to take anything for granted.
Having lost a key player and player of the season like Darren Jones in the close season along with Anthony Straker it was key for Deano to strengthen our back line and strengthen he did. In came former Loanee Troy Brown from Rotherham and experienced campaigner who will need no introduction to the Exeter faithful having played for Torquay Guy Branston. Add Olly Lancashire to the mix, brought in from Walsall, then you have an exciting mix of young guns and wise experienced heads. Anthony Tonkin makes up our new signings in defence……or so we though until Sonny Bradley announced on Twitter a week before the Wolves game that he was signing on a seasons loan from Hull having spent time on loan with us last season and had become a fans favourite.
Looking at our first two games it has become apparent that the defence will be key to our season at it has looked pretty solid
In the middle we signed Craig Stanley from Bristol Rovers but unfortunately he suffered a broken leg in the last Pre-Season Friendly and is therefore out for about 6 Months
Up front we will be relying on Michael Rankine to continue the form he has shown in the first 2 games as target man, ball holder upper and goalscorer, he will be assisted by close season signing Craig Read who we signed from Stevenage, it was his prolific scoring for Newport County in the Blue Square Premier under Deano that encouraged Stevenage to lay out 100k for him.
It is also encouraging to see that our squad is seeing no less than 6 players from our Youth setup making their mark in the first team.
Unfortunately we are also seeing an injury crisis already with first choice keeper Ross Warner out for 6 months possibly with a back injury also Guy Branston, Olly Lancashire, Craig Stanley and Peter Vincenti also missing recently.
We will also be missing Danny Hylton last seasons top scorer who will be serving the third match of his eight match suspension.
The injury crisis has already forced Deano into bringing in former Southend and Leyton Orient stopper Glenn Morris in on a six month deal along with Myles Anderson (son of agent Jerome) on a Months Loan from Blackburn.
Looking at what our expectations for the season will be has to be the Play-Offs, our board have backed the Manager financially and with our decent run at the end of last season I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t be thereabouts come May
I don’t like marking out individuals as key men as I believe our success is based upon the team spirit that is apparent amongst the squad but if I had to pick out players it would be the partnerships of Sonny Bradley and Troy Brown at the back and Michael Rankine and Craig Reid up front.
Looking forward to the game, history and the opening day of the season indicates a Shots win all the way and I’m going to stick my neck out here and go with that and predict a 2-0 victory to us, although my own personal, opinion is that our play has been a little too predictable going forward and should City manage to work that out and defend our set pieces a 0-0 might be on the cards
You can follow Steve on Twitter, he can be found at: https://twitter.com/SteveyAsp