Towners squad takes shape ahead of new season

Another promotion push is the aim for Enfield Town FC, writes Andrew Warshaw

The Enfield Town squad enjoyed a close bond last season as they pushed for promotion
The Enfield Town squad enjoyed a close bond last season as they pushed for promotion

Players come and players go but Enfield Town manager Andy Leese believes the squad being built for the new season that begins in mid-August will be just as competitive as during the last campaign – when the Towners finished third.

The core of the team that so nearly reached the Isthmian League Premier Division play-off final in April have committed themselves for another campaign, including skipper Scott Thomas, player of the year Sam Youngs and strikers Jake Cass and Adam Cunnington.

They have been joined by a raft of new signings, including – at the time of going to press – much-touted defender Juevan Spencer, Wynford Marfo, Dequane Wilson-Braithwaite, midfielder Scott Shulton (his second spell with the club), prolific goalscorer Marcus Wyllie, and experienced ex-professional winger James Dayton. Versatile defender Josh Mcleod-Urquhart, a fans’ favourite who has missed virtually an entire year because of injury, makes a welcome return.

“While we are sorry to lose certain players the key is to focus on what you’ve got,” said Andy ahead of the eagerly-anticipated opening fixture at home to Folkestone on Saturday, 13th August.

“Dequane and Wynford, both defenders, came in on trial and have done really well and have a great future,” said Andy. “ Josh is like having a new signing. He’s a fantastic footballer. Marcus is a terrific young prospect who has shown up really well in pre-season.”

The start of the season could not be much tougher, with Folkestone at home followed three days later by a trip to Hornchurch who, of course, ended Town’s promotion hopes last season with that gut-wrenching semifinal defeat at QE2 Stadium.

Andy said: “Those two will be top-five contenders, no question, and it couldn’t be much more difficult.

“But maybe it’s a good time to play them.”

At the time of going to press, ace marksman Mo Faal, whose contract ended in May, was still seeking to turn fully professional at a higher level. With or without Town’s top scorer, there are goals across the pitch, and Enfield fans look certain to once again turn out in their droves, both home and away.

Home attendance last season was up by 40% as the club achieved its highest-ever position and points per game at step three of the non-league pyramid. “The support we get wherever we’ve been has been nothing short of fantastic,” said Andy. “The players love it and so do I. I always tell the players about us being owned by the supporters and what that means. They all have a stake in us.”

What are the ambitions for the season? “We want to do at least as well and try and go one better. We’ve got the nucleus of players and are again a top-five team. Which of those places we take, I don’t know. It’s going to be hugely competitive again. We also want to go deep into the cup competitions, which brings both prestige and revenue.”

Team spirit, of course, counts for a lot – and Town had it in spades last time round. Supporters’ player of the season Sam Youngs said: “There are teams who spend a lot more money, but player for player, every time we go on the pitch we think we can win. We may not necessarily always be favourites on paper but we have kept the core of the team. And the biggest thing we’ve got in our favour is our togetherness.”

Enfield Town FC’s opening league fixtures:
13th August
Folkestone Invicta (h)
16th August Hornchurch (a)
20th August Kingstonian (a)
27th August Bowers & Pitsea (h)
29th August Potters Bar Town (a)
10th September Horsham (h)
13th September Brightlingsea Regent (a)
17th September Bognor Regis Town (h)
20th September Canvey Island (h)
24th September Margate (a)
1st October Corinthian-Casuals (a)
15th October Lewes (h)
22nd October Cray Wanderers (a)
29th October Herne Bay (h)