Ducks boss Joyce wants play-off push

Tony Joyce
Tony Joyce

Ducks boss Tony Joyce says he will be targeting a push for the play-offs next season as he begins the task of strengthening his Aylesbury United squad over the summer following a mixed 2014/15 campaign.

Aylesbury finished one place and four points worse off compared to last season in Division One Central of the Southern League, but Joyce’s side did manage to reach the final of the Berks & Bucks Cup, where they were well beaten 4-0 by Maidenhead United.

Looking ahead, Joyce says his next aim is to build a side capable of challenging at the top end of the table.

“I think this season was another part of the building block,” he said this week.

“Our league form wasn’t much different to last year. We scored more goals but conceded more and finished with a similar amount of points and that was the goal –to sustain what we achieved last season.

“Next year we’ll be playing at Thame and our aim will be looking to get close to those play-offs places. We haven’t got a team ready to win the league yet but we want to get a team together that can compete at the top end of the table and push for a play-off spot.

“We’ll retain the majority of the squad but like any other team, we know where we need to improve and we have our targets that we want to bring in. Hopefully they come off but at non-league football you never know because there are other factors involved like money and location, but I think moving to Thame will help us bring in the players we want to sign.”

Next season, Aylesbury will be joined in Division One Central by AFC Rushden & Diamonds, Arlesey Town, Burnham, Flackwell Heath and Kings Langley, and Joyce feels his side will be better prepared to mount a play-off challenge, adding: “We’ve had two seasons in the Southern League now so we know most of the teams in the division.

“There’ll be five new sides next season, which is quite exciting because we’ll have teams like Rushden & Diamonds who will be strong, but I think we’ll be more equipped when we go away next season and I’m sure our home form will improve as we’ll be playing on a better pitch at Thame.

“The club as a whole is moving forward and to get back to Aylesbury is still the goal.

“We’ve signed an agreement with Thame for two years but we’re always looking at getting back to Aylesbury because the club needs that.”

Joyce had few complaints following his side’s County Cup final defeat and admitted their Conference South opponents were the better side.

“To be honest I thought it was a fair result,” he added. “We had a few injuries going into the game and that did play a big part on the day, but we did well for 65 minutes.

“It was game over when they scored the second but we still went forward and looked to score but they exploited the gaps at the back and came out comfortable 4-0 winners.

“They’re a good side, two levels above us and it was good experience for our lads because that’s where we want to be in few years’ time.”