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KICKING OFF: Welch targets top-six finish
MANAGER Maurice Welch is eyeing another top-six finish from his Chickens.
The Cranford Avenue outfit enjoyed a solid campaign last time out, claiming sixth spot with 62 points from 36 outings.
And the United boss would love to see a repeat show in 2012/13.
“I’m optimistic we can match last season’s sixth-place finish,” he said. “If we can get into the top six again then it will be a successful season.
“It’ll be tough as there are some good sides in the league but we are looking sharp and hopefully we will have a good season.”
The Chickens may have seen two key components of last season’s squad – defender Scott Henley and gloveman Ashley Weeks – leave for rivals Portland United but Welch is more than happy with the players at his disposal.
He added: “We have covered losing Ash with Steve Boore, who has made a good start in pre-season. He was with Yeovil for a few years and is still a young lad with plenty of potential.
“I’m disappointed to see Ash go as he has been a good servant to the club, but he has decided to leave and I wish him all the best.
“I’m happy we have got Steve so I don’t feel as though I have lost anything in that position.
“Losing Scott is a blow as he is one of the best defenders in the league – maybe even the best defender in the league.
“He has a few friends over at Portland so he has decided to go there and I wish him all the best. I appreciate all that he has done for us and I have nothing but praise for the lad.
“We have to move on though and I have managed to bring Josh Burton back from Port-land so he’ll go a long way to covering for Scott.
“Overall we have a similar squad to last season with Liam Beades back to full fitness again, which is a plus, and Sean Stewart and Lee Pattison joining the club.
“We’ve also got a lot of youngsters who we will hopefully see improve as the games go on.
“We are a young side and the likes of Tom Peck, Stewart Walbridge, Steve Welch, Josh Price and Jamie Sibley have years ahead of them.
“They are Chickerell boys who will all hopefully stay here as we look to build for the future.
“Year on year we are looking for them to come through and show their colours.”
Chickerell opened the new campaign with a 3-1 win against Swanage Town & Herston, so they will be looking for a repeat show at home to Poole Borough tomorrow (3pm).