Joyce optimistic ahead of fresh campaign as new-look Ducks impress in pre-season

Tony Joyce
Tony Joyce

Tony Joyce feels his Aylesbury United squad is shaping up well ahead of their 2015/16 season opener against Potters Bar Town on August 8.

The Ducks have revamped their squad this summer with 18 players so far signed up for the new campaign and Joyce has hinted there could be one or two more on the way.

United new boy Taylor Collins nets a free-kick for former club Tring Athletic

United new boy Taylor Collins nets a free-kick for former club Tring Athletic

The new-look squad includes six signings although both Jason Blackett and Jesse Waites have left the club.

Coming in are midfielders Billy Adcock and Ollie Hogg, strikers Taylor Collins and Eoin Casey, winger Ash Farmer and defender Alex Collard.

Commenting on the new signings, Joyce said: “We’ve lost Jason and Jesse but we have added to the squad and we’ve been impressed with the new boys who have come in. There may be one more but we’re not sure at the moment.

“Billy is a young lad who came from Hanwell Town and he will add a little bit of quality and bite to our midfield.

“Eoin has done really well so far – he’s come in and scored a few goals so he’ll give us a bit more strength up front as a replacement for Jason.”

Neither Collins nor Collard were part of Joyce’s plans prior to the summer but the duo have both impressed the United boss during pre-season.

“Taylor was recommended to me from one of our younger players and he came in to train with us and I really liked him from the first session he had here”, added Joyce.

“He knuckled down and earned himself a couple of starts and he’s done really well. He’s only 19 but he’s another player who has impressed in pre-season.

“Alex is a young centre-back. He wasn’t part of our plans but he came to training and has played four out of the five games and as a young defender he’s been outstanding.

“Bill Morgan will miss the start of the season so young Alex has been given the chance and he’s really impressed.”

Joyce was also complimentary about fellow newcomers Hogg and Farmer, who have both played their part in United’s impressive pre-season form which has seen them win four of their five friendlies.

“It’s been excellent so far,” said Joyce. “The lads have worked really hard in training and that’s shown in the games.

“Obviously it counts for nothing but we are playing well, we’re looking fit and sharp and if we can keep relatively injury-free I’ve got a real good squad to pick from.

“Being realistic, at the moment it’s great to win the friendlies but it’s more about how we’re playing and I’m pleased because we’re playing well. The new lads have come in and have settled in straight away and added to what we’ve got and that’s what we need.”

Looking ahead to the new season, Joyce added: “We’re looking good and we do have lots of options which is nice to have for a manager.

“We’re training well, the games are going well and everyone is looking forward to it.

“We’ll set ourselves goals and we want to be looking at making the play-offs – that’s got to be a target this season as well as doing better in the FA Cup and FA Trophy.”

Aylesby will have a new home this season in the shape of Thame’s ASM Stadium.

Joyce continued: “We’ve played one pre-season game there and it’s fantastic – the clubhouse is great and the pitch is excellent.

“No disrespect to Leighton because they were very good to us but we feel we can play a bit more football on the pitch at Thame so it’s good for Aylesbury United all round.”

The Ducks continue their pre-season campaign at Winslow United tonight.