THE 2020/21 South West Peninsula League Premier West season will begin this week, with our four main teams all set to return to competitive action for the first time since the coronavirus outbreak in March.

The Packet spoke to Falmouth Town manager Andrew Westgarth, Helston Athletic boss Steve Massey, Porthleven manager Graham Blake and Wendron United boss Jack Greenwood to preview the upcoming campaign.

How has pre-season been?

GB: Really good, actually. I can’t complain. We’ve got a good little squad, we’re probably a couple short from where I really want to be in a couple of areas, but I really am happy with the people I’ve brought in and how they’ve gelled.

We’ve got a nice bit of youth and experience and it’s working quite well. We haven’t got the superstars; we’ve just got a grounded side who are all good footballers and they all work hard and they’re all good lads.

JG: On the whole pre-season has gone well. We’ve been our own worst enemy with conceding goals, but on the whole, considering we’ve gone from a standing start, the lads’ fitness levels are good.

Their energy levels, their desire [are good], we’ve played some really good stuff and some lads have come back exceptionally fit and really sharp which is really encouraging.

SM: I for one am really thrilled that pre-season is now over. I dislike it every year, it seems that I dislike it even more every season as it goes on, whether it’s just me getting older and grumpier or whether it does just get harder.

Teams are still scratching around trying to put out messages on social media [for games], they’ve been let down. A number of teams have been let down, it happened to us over at Taunton.

AW: I’ve been really, really pleased with it. I think the boys have adapted well to all of the restrictions in place and been very respectful of that side. The numbers have been good for training and good for games, so we’ve been able to rotate.

Everyone’s had really good minutes and the good thing is we’re getting close to the season and everybody’s had a good few 90s under their belts, which is pleasing.

Falmouth Packet:

It will technically be TJ Walter's second season with Falmouth Town - with the former Wendron man playing once last season before coronavirus intervened

Aims for this season?

GB: Yes, I’m here to enjoy it but at the end of the day we all do it because we want to win. If I wasn’t a winner I wouldn’t be managing a football club. We probably won’t win the league but I’d certainly like to be up there challenging each game whoever it may be, the Bodmins, the Helstons, that we give them a really good game.

I’d like to see us have a good cup run in something, I think we’ve definitely got that in us.

JG: We showed last year that we can more than match it and we had a few upsets. What I want to make sure is we don’t have any of those games where we just don’t turn up and we capitulate. I’d love to be top half of the table and I think I say it every year, but I love a cup run.

I know we joke about it but we are a club with no budget in the middle of nowhere. From our point of view we’re mindful of where we are, we’ve got a really good group of lads and competing at this level in itself is an achievement.

SM: It’s simple, it’s promotion. To win every game we go into. Every game I go into I want to win. It sounds cheesy and a cliché but that’s what I want to do. But the ultimate aim this year is promotion.

I would like a run in all the cups. I understand that the Vase and the FA Cup, certainly the FA Cup, we’re not going to win that one, but I’d like for the boys, the club and the supporters and everybody connected to have a taste of a few ties.

AW: Without wanting to sound like a broken record and I do say it every season, but your aim has got to be to better last season. Hopefully, we can address our early season form and availability because that was something that effectively hindered our season.

Hopefully, we can get off to a better start, be more competitive from the beginning and finish higher than what we got [last season].

Falmouth Packet:

Mark Goldsworthy is already off the mark for this term after scoring twice in Helston's FA Cup win on Tuesday night

What are you looking forward to this year?

GB: I’m looking forward to the FA Vase, that will be a good one away to Torpoint. It’ll be a nice trip away up to Torpoint and if we get a result there, you never know, we have Helston! The local derby games are always the good ones aren’t they? Helston on Boxing Day and Good Friday, the Falmouths, the Mouseholes.

JG: I think I’m just looking forward to being back at it and seeing the lads on a regular basis. I love it when we win, when you’re a manager and you win it’s ten times better than when you’re a player but losing is ten times worse.

I’m really looking forward to our first win and our first win under floodlights here and to having more games under our floodlights.

SM: Realising the whole potential of the team and the likes of the boys that we’ve put on contract. It ranges from wanting to and win every game and that feeling of nice satisfaction on Saturday night watching Match of the Day knowing we’ve got another three points and another win. It’s a lovely feeling and I want that feeling.

AW: I think it’s just what we look forward to in football in general; pitting yourselves against other teams and hopefully seeing how well we can do.

I suppose it’s the same as every season; Hoping to do well, build on the F-Troop, build on Falmouth and get stronger and better.

Falmouth Packet:

Kyle Fraser (left) has been in good scoring form for Porthleven in pre-season

Who will win the league?

GB: I said it a lot last year that I think we were best of the rest. You’ve always got your big hitters; your Bodmins, your Helstons, your Falmouths, your Saltashes, and I don’t think it’ll be any different this season.

JG: Mousehole would be up there I’m sure, they’ve got some technically gifted players. I know Matt Cusack’s left Saltash but I’m sure Saltash will be up there. If Helston carry on where they left off last season, they’ll no doubt be there again.

I think Bodmin have recruited well this summer. But I think it’s going to be your Helstons and your Saltashes that are going to be up there.

SM: I think there’s probably going to be a top four or five that will be Bodmin, Saltash, Mousehole, ourselves, St Blazey and Falmouth, let’s say a top six. There’s probably a top four there, I’d say ourselves, Bodmin, Saltash and Mousehole.

I think St Blazey have really recruited well, and Falmouth because of Falmouth, the name and the tradition and also the huge factor of the support they get with the F-Troop. That’ll be the top six.

AW: I suppose if anybody finishes above Helston they’ve done well. I can’t see there being much shift [in the top places last season] other than probably, without being disrespectful, St Austell will be replaced by St Blazey.

Then you look at Bodmin, they’ve improved and will be there or thereabouts, and it’ll be interesting to see how Saltash cope without Ryan [Richards, 2019/20 top scorer] and Matty [Cusack, former manager].

Falmouth Packet:

Cameron Wheat (centre) has returned to Wendron ahead of the new season

Surprise package?

GB: It’ll be St Blazey for me. I think they’ve done lots and I think there’s a buzz about the place and they’re a good little outfit.

JG: I went to watch St Austell on Thursday and I think they’ll surprise a few people. They’re very young, they’re energetic, they get the ball from back to front very quickly and they worked really hard for each other.

SM: Dark horses are Newquay. I think they’re always strong, they’ve recruited well and gone under the radar a little bit.

AW: Liskeard seem to have recruited well, they could improve on last year as obviously their first year wasn’t the roaring success they wanted it to be, obviously losing their main striker [James] Lorenz, but they could do well this year.