Manager Chris Davies previews the 2017/18 season.
What was your opinion on last years campaign?
Looking back on last years campaign I think we can be happy with what we achieved. Our highest finish in 16 years. But I'll always look at it as a what if season. I think if we had our full strength team for the whole season it would have been a different story. Players like Ben Richards only played 2 games, Daniel Lewis missed 6 months and Gregg Brown missed the first 3 months and then the last 3 months. We lost key players all the way through but still managed to stay right at the top only losing 3 league games all season. The cups were disappointing which is very unlike us, we've got to 4 cup finals in the previous 3 seasons since I arrived so to end the year without reaching a final was very poor. It looked so promising with a month to go. Still challenging for the league, a semi final of the league cup and quarter final of the mont cup but in the end we ran out of steam after playing 5 games in 10 days. That's why it felt like a poor season but in reality I think it should go down as a positive one. We know we have to improve on last season. Hopefully the players learnt from the experiences and are more than ready to go again this season.
How do you think pre season has gone?
Pre season has gone very well from my point of view. We've signed 8 players and we've brought in real top quality players. We are far stronger than we were last season. The attitude in the team is much better and I feel we are more equipped to be successful this season. All the players have worked hard and it's great to see them putting in the extra effort. Attendance has been good throughout and we've had a lot of competitive games to prepare us for the season.
Lots of change in the squad, tell us about that.
Yeah we've almost built a new squad again. This is my 5th pre season and I think this one has seen the greatest change. We've lost a few as you do every year but I won't be losing any sleep over that. We identified early who we wanted to bring in and I feel we've gone over and above replacing the ones that have gone. We've added 8 new faces to the changing room and we're stronger as a squad for it:
Dan Goodman - is someone who's been at the club before and knows what's it's about. The key things is he knows how to win, he's won the Spar Mid twice and will add experience to the team. Also he's a great person to have in the changing room.
Lee Powell - this was a late signing but I'd been speaking to Lee throughout pre season. He hasn't trained or played yet so he's got a bit to catch up on with fitness. But again it's another lad who's been around this league for a long time and will bring tons of experience.
Adam Williams - another returning player who knows how to win at this level. He's put in a real shift pre season to get himself back to full fitness after a stop start season last year. Another experienced player added to the group who is great to have in the changing room.
Tom Richards - this is a great signing for the club. He played a vital role at Caersws over the last few years in the Alliance League and its a big bonus we managed to bring him to the club. The energy he has shown in the friendlies already proves he's a top quality player and he'll play a big part this season.
Scott Williams - another big signing. A quality player who has played the last few years in the Alliance League at Caersws. His energy and composure on the ball in the middle of the park has already changed the dynamic of our team.
Jordan McFadden - a solid lad who's a player we've been missing over the last few seasons. A real target man who links the play. He's been at Rhayader Reserves and he's taken the opportunity to step up and come and challenge at this level.
Paul Jehu - although Paul spends most of the year captaining Llani Rugby Club, if we can get him on the pitch when's he's available he's a quality player. He's made a few appearances for us over the years and always contributes in each game.
Jake Brown - he's returned to the club looking for a fresh start. Jake played the final 10 League games in goal for us back in 2015 where we won 9 and drew 1, hopefully he can return to that level with us this season.
All in all the additions have been great. All of them are good lads who are keen to be successful at Carno this season. They've settled in well and the group as a whole is far better. We all wish them luck for the new season.
What are your ambitions for the new season?
Simple., to win the league. We say every year improve on last years league finish. We finished second last year so to improve on that we have to win it. We know it's not an easy task and we expect some serious competition at the top of the table. But we know we've got as strong of a team and squad as anyone else. We just have to perform well and not get carried away and lose focus. We're hoping the new additions will push us that bit closer and the lads who remain have another years experience under their belt. All in all I think we're in a good position. In cups competitions, we have to seriously improve on last years poor show. We want to play in the big games so getting to cup finals is a must.
It's ok to talk about ambitions at the start of the season but in order to be successful you have to take every game as it comes, remain focused and not get carried away.
The season kicks off tomorrow and we know we have a long season ahead of us.
Updated 14:56 - 31 Aug 2017 by Jonathan Evans