Boss Williams hopes Ducks thrive on the pressure as skipper Wood heads summer signings

United captain Jack Wood heads home on his 400th appearance for the club. Picture: Mike Snell
United captain Jack Wood heads home on his 400th appearance for the club. Picture: Mike Snell

Aylesbury United manager Ben Williams has not set any specific targets for his side ahead of the new season, although he admits he’d ‘love’ to challenge for the play-offs.

Captain Jack Wood and new boy Max Hercules are among 11 players who have so far put pen to paper for the upcoming campaign as Williams looks to re-shape his squad and build on a strong end to last season.

From the turn of the year, the Ducks embarked on a fine run of form, taking them from second-bottom to a finishing position of 13th, but while the manager hopes to maintain that momentum, he’s also cautious following the Southern League’s restructuring.

“We want to finish as high as possible,” he said. “I’d love for us to be around the play-offs towards the end so that we have something to play for.

“I would have been more confident if we had the same league as last year because now we will have to see what the new teams are like and obviously the budgets they have.

“But if we focus as a group and keep playing as we do at a consistent level, we should compete with anyone in our league. I’d also really like a little cup run like last season in any of the competitions.”

Williams also won praise for the attractive brand of football he brought to United after taking over from Glyn Creaser in December, and it’s something which he values highly.

“I love attractive football and entertaining games,” he added. “I’d rather go for a win and lose than settle for a draw.

“I also understand at this level that it doesn’t always work like that so we will take the occasional poor performance and a 1-0 win!

“We kept the same sort of system throughout even when still struggling so the responsibilities of the players was always the same, we just had to wait for a few players to join and the system to click which it did. When that happens we all enjoy it more and look forward to the games.

“I also introduced a mini-league into the dressing room and set the group a challenge to climb it. Initially I only had the bottom four teams in and had to keep adding more because the players smashed any target I set! I can only thank them for buying into what we wanted and giving our great club back its feel good factor.

“Following the end of last season we have put ourselves under pressure to keep it going. I’m really looking forward to the challenge and I really want us to keep our season alive for as long as possible.”