THE 2018/19 football season is fast approaching, with the South West Peninsula League and Combination League both getting under way this week.

Penryn Athletic are tipped to have a strong season in the Combination League after recruiting manager Harry Pope from Carharrack, who led his former side to a third-place finish in the division last season as well as landing the Supplementary League Cup title.

Athletic host Redruth United on Saturday afternoon (kick-off 3pm) and Pope spoke to the Packet to preview the new season.

2017-18 in a nutshell?

It was OK because we obviously ended up winning a trophy at the end of the season but to describe it in one word would be a bit frustrating. We only lost the league by five points, which if we look back over the season at some of the points we dropped especially at the start of the season.

Looking back on it, I feel we should have done better really. To end the season with another trophy, at the start of the season that was the aim to try and get something in the trophy cabinet and we ended up achieving that, but looking back on the league title I feel we could have done better on that. We didn’t have a bad season, but could’ve been better.

Best match of last season?

The best match in terms of performance probably was probably when we played away at Perranporth, although we ended up drawing 2-2 with about five minutes to go we were 2-0 up but the way that we played that day was for me the most memorable performance.

Again another one where the result didn’t go our way but when we played away at Torpoint in the Senior Cup we played really really well there and were unlucky to lose that game.

Worst match of last season?

I can probably name one or two to be honest, but probably the worst one for me personally was Holmans away when we ended up losing 4-1. We beat them 14-0 at home and I think we went out there with a bit of complacency.

Looking back on it personally I remember the team and I made a lot of changes that day and looking back on it if I could have that game again I wouldn’t do that, I would just play it differently but that was definitely the worst result without a doubt!

How has pre-season gone?

Really enjoyed it, I’ve obviously taken a few players from Carharrack with me so I knew a lot of those lads, but to meet and get to know some of the lads down at Penryn who were there last year and a couple of new faces has been good.

It’s been a bit tough because I’ve got a lot of competition for places, but if you want to win the league title that’s what you need. Picking the team is going to be quite hard for me, especially considering the season’s come around very quickly, but a very impressive squad.

The facilities down here are bang on and everybody behind the scenes has been supporting me every step of the way throughout pre-season, overall I’ve absolutely loved it.

How happy are you with your squad and your transfer business?

Very happy with the squad, like I said there’s a lot of competition for places.

I’m going to be spending my Friday nights sleepless picking teams but that’s what you want really if you want to challenge for trophies, you can’t win a league with 11 men, you need more than that, you need 16, 17 throughout the course of the season.

There’s always going to be people who can’t make it through work or injury or suspension or anything like that so you need to make sure you’ve got good numbers and I feel like I’ve got that.

Everybody’s hungry, everybody wants to play, everybody wants to win the league which is the target I‘ve set out for us, so overall I’m delighted with the squad.

What are you most looking forward to about the new season?

Just getting started to be honest, pre-season has come around a bit too quickly but I was keen as mustard starting at a new club. I’ve had a few pre-season friendlies, got to know the lads a little bit and now I just want the season to start really.

What match are you most looking forward to?

You have to take each game as it comes but the Perranporth game is obviously one I’m looking forward to, it’s going to be a big challenge, they’re coming to Penryn as league champions so you’ve got to respect them but first of all we’ve got Redruth so I’m not thinking too much about the Perranporth game until we’ve played Redruth.

What are your aims for the season?

Short term goal is to just get off to a good start this season, we’ve got Culdrose away in the first round of the League Cup and hopefully get a win there but overall ambitions for the season is to try and win the league, definitely try and get promoted and have a good crack at all the cup competitions.

They’re high ambitions but that’s what I want to try and achieve in the first year here, but promotion is the main goal and obviously the league title is our priority but with the cup competitions I want to make sure I have a good go at them as well.

So our ambition is to try and win everything, might be easier said than done obviously but we’ll give it a good go!

Who are you tipping for the title?

I’ll have to say Perranporth again, I heard they’ve made a few good signings and obviously with the players they had there last year they’re going to have a good competitive squad they’re going to be up there.

Illogan coming into the league as well, over the years whenever I’ve played Illogan it’s never been an easy game so I’m not sure if they’ll be title challengers but they’ll definitely be up there I think. 

Falmouth as well, you’ve got to respect them, they had a good season last year and if they’ve made a couple more signings or kept the same sort of squad then they’ll be up there as well, then obviously I’ve got to back myself and Penryn so I’m going to chuck our name in there as well.

I think it’ll be tough but obviously I fancy our chances so I’m going to have to say Penryn if I can only pick one team, but I may be slightly biased!

Top scorer?

Luke Wort won it last year so he’s going to be up there, I’m going to put my money on Ryan Reeve this year he’s scored four in four so far in pre-season and looked really really sharp.

He won Penryn’s club top goals scorer last year and was up there in the contenders and was on fire at the end of the season, so I’m going to tip him.