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Dillon bouyant by great run of form

This midweek we caught up with joint first team manager Ben Dillon to go through his thoughts on the squad, new signings, injuries and how the first month of the season has panned out.

Evening Ben, we've enjoyed 5 wins from 5 taking us into September, how's the mood around the camp off the back of this?

The mood in the camp is good. All the boys are, really enjoying their time. They are loving the environment, you know, it's a great club that we are a part of. It has great facilities & surrounded by good people. You can tell on training and matchdays, there's constant laughing and joking and obviously everyone's happy when they're winning.

Five on a bounce is fantastic, so yeah we can't complain. The squad as a whole have really, really good attitudes and we are looking forward another big test on Saturday away at Raynes Park Vale who are unbeaten so far in the league this season.

I agree, there does seem to be a buzz about the club at the moment. Long may it continue. We've made some shrewd signings over the summer, how are they settling in?

The new signings are settling well actually, we've got a few more coming this week. So you may see some feature on Saturday. I can't say too much right now as we work to finalise the deals, but you may see some Saturday if not Tuesday. So yeah, new signings are doing really well, particularly Sheldon Wright. Saturday he scored a great, great goal and he's already showing his quality. Dean Stow coming in has just been unbelievable. He is really, really good, a top bloke and leads by example. He's very, very good to have in the camp. So overall everyone's settling in well. It's gelling together well and I think that's one thing that, we've all kind of been together before at some point. Whether we've played together or me and Joe have managed the boys before. We know what to expect and they know what we expect from them. So yeah, been really, really good to see the, the additions to the squad settling in.

Can we expect anymore new names through the door?

Yeah. As I said, we've got a few to get over a line this week. When we inherited the squad we had one thing we made sure of and that was that we didn't disrupt the heart of the Tadley side, And it's one thing that really did attract us to the job if you like.

So certainly we aren't looking to get new players in every week, that's definitely not the case, but with a couple of injuries that we've had wer're trying to get ourselves a little bit more cover. We will see over the next few weeks, but there's definitely a couple more coming in,two or three in the next couple of weeks which is really exciting, but I can't say too much more at this point.

The injury to Sonny is a big blow, can you give us an update on his injury and any others we're facing?

Sonny's injury. I can't tell you too much because the honest answer is that we are not sure yet.

He's picked up a shoulder injury & he's waiting to see a specialist, but it doesn't look good to be honest. I'd be surprised if we saw him playing in a Tadley-Calleva shirt this side of Christmas. We're hopeful that we do. Hopefully we can get him back training ASAP because he is a great young talent and he wasreally starting to find some form. So fingers crossed it's on the mend. Fitness is never issue with Sonny, he's a young, healthy fit lad, so hopefully if he gets get himself on the mend, he can come straight back into the fold.

Any other injuries? Yeah, we've got a couple. Kieron Maylen is struggling a little bit still, he's waiting to see a specialist regarding his knee. So certainly for the next few weeks, Kieron won't be featuring. Rowan Vine has a couple of niggling knocks. He's a bit of a groin issue at the moment so that's one we're keeping an eye on. Ben Toye who's yet to feature this season since preseason, is a wonderful, wonderful talent, a brilliant player. So I'm really excited to have him back in and we are hoping within the next three or four weeks he's back with the squad. I'm excited for everyone to see him play.

There's not many injuries, but you know, certainly more than what we'd like. The depth in squad is good. So we are, we are managing it well so far.

Fingers crossed the boys are back fit and competing for their places again soon. The strength in depth has clearly allowed us to cope with the early fixture demand. You both must be please how the squad has taken shape.

Yeah. Talking about the depth in squad, the high demand in fixtures it's been a lot. Obviously we got off to a slow start with the FA cup and then losing at Colliers Wood. You know, it was a slow start, but we've picked it up and we've learned from our mistakes, so bad run is hopefully over. We are very pleased, myself and Joe are very pleased with how the squad's taken shape and like I said, the boys' attitudes are brilliant ,we can't ask anymore than what they're giving right now. Long may continue.

I think, you know, it's hard at any level to win, to win five games on the bounce and it's even harder to maintain that level, if you like, especially over a bank holiday weekend where you have two games in three days and an early kickoff on the Monday. So yeah, credit to all of the boys in the squad, and even those boys that have been out of the squad, they've come up to the games and they've taken part in the warm ups andhave been there to welcome the new signings into the squad.

So the attitude the mentality of the squad is really good. That's what we want. We want to keep that professional environment that we want and we've always worked towards. You've just gotta be as good as you can be and then hopefully if you apply yourself right the results will come.

It's clear to see the attitude is spot on from all in the squad and there is a real togetherness. We travel to Raynes Park Vale on Saturday who are 4 from 4 in the league. How are preparations for that going?

To be honest, they're not ideal. Obviously we've had a few knocks coming off the back of Monday, they're not injuries as such, they're just knocks. We had eight lads on the physio bed from 08:30 Monday morning, right up until 45 minutes before kick off. Our physio was very busy. Myself, Joe and the whole squad are thankful we have Caz in the team as without her I don't think we would've been able to field a team on Monday. She was absolutely brilliant.

So not ideal, but you know, it is about momentum, and we know that Saturday's gonna be very, very tough. We know that Raynes Park Vale are a very, very good side. We know a few of their players We know what they'll bring.

We are up for a challenge and it is gonna be a challenge. We go there full of confidence and we go there to win the game. In these it's early stages, but these are the games, you know are the games that you wanna be in. And every game in the Combined Counties is really hard. anyone can beat anyone in this league as you've seen, probably from some results already.

There's a lot of very, very good teams in the league.

So, Raynes Park, we are looking forward to it. We're excited for the challenge. We're going into it full of confidence and we are hopeful that if we apply ourselves right and we work hard, we're hopeful that'senough to get us through and get the 3 points.

I can't see why we can't beat anyne on our day, especially from the performances we've seen so far! We've seen consistent crowds of over 100 for the first time in a while, has this helped the performances?

The crowds are brilliant. It's about the local lads, you know, the local guys bringing the crowds, bringing their families and, and their friends and whatnot. So, yeah, great to see. And even in the clubhouse, after the game there's a good buzz in there and there's a lot of boys and families staying after, which is great, and that's what we want, like I said before, Tadley-Calleva is a fantastic club. It's one that I've been a part of previously, so I've alwaysknown how big the club is, and what's gone on in the past few years is, has been way below par in my opinion.

Myself, Joe and the squad accept the challenge of trying to better that and get Tadley to where they should be, and that is establishing in the Combined Counties at step five. From there, it's about pushing on and eventually aiming for that top six top seven spot where you can become one of the better sides at that level and go from there.

That's our aim this season. That's what we want to do. We want to push Tadley on, and off the pitch. So crowds come in is brilliant, long may that continue. Hopefully if we keep getting points on the board, then it it'll get bigger and better.

Absolutely, i know it's early in the season but we're looking good for establishing ourselves. What can we achieve this season? We face Calne and Bournemouth FC in the FA Vase and Hampshire cup respectively. Can we have a cup run?

Bournemouth in the next round of the cup, another difficult game, but one that we feel that we can go and win. We feel we can win every game if we apply ourselves in the right way. The Hampshire Cup, there's some big hitters in there.

The FA Vase is the one that we would like to have a run in I don't mind openly saying that. The Vase, whether that's two, three rounds, that is one that we are keeping our eye on. There's certainly no cup game that we are going to make drastic changes and use for minutes.

We did that last season because we needed to, because we had a new squad,we needed to see where we needed to tidy up and where to strengthen. This season, now we are established and we've got our squad kind of set.

We feel that we need to be going to win every cup game. So yeah, a cup run would be great.

Next round of both of them and we'll be very happy. The Vase is the one that we like to have a run in and concentrate on.

And like I said previously, establishing Tadley as a top 10 Combined Counties side. We don't want Tadley fighting for relegation every year. We're a better club than that. It's better run than that & there's good people here. So, we feel that it should be doing more.

We are realistic with our targets, but we believe that we've got a very good side and we believe that we can certainly achieve our targets this season, if not more.

An exciting season ahead of us then!

Finally, is there anything you'd like to say to the supporters that have been there for the first month of the season?

The supporters have been brilliant. And obviously for myself and Joe, we'd just like to thank them. in fact, since we came in, not just this season, they've been very welcoming, trusted us with the job. We promised to deliver and so far, I feel like we have, but it's such early days yet.

We've got a lot of hard work to do but certainly from us and, and the boys to the supporters, it's great to see so many there, you know, it's great. After the end of the, at the end of the game too, to be clapped off after a win, especially on Monday after a difficult win at home to Frimley Green.

So yeah, it's really good to, to see and it more enjoyable. The more people there, the better buzz you have from the game and the better atmosphere, and hopefully that can continue & hopefully we can keep delivering on the pitch for the fans off it.

Really excited for the rest of the season, really excited for Saturday. The squad's looking good so we will go there for the confidence and try and get another three points on the board.

Ben Dillon speaking to Dan Walkley 31.8.22


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