Gavin Lach’s men will kick off their pre-season schedule on Saturday, August 4th with an inter-club game at College Meadow (kick-off 11am).
The following Saturday (August 11th), OEs renew acquaintances with old friends when they take an enlarged first team squad to National Two South side Bury St Edmunds for 4 x 30 minute games (kick-off 2pm).
A selected 45-man squad will then fly out to Jersey on Thursday, August 16th for a three-day training camp, culminating in two games against the Championship club on Saturday, August 18th. The Extras play the islanders' second string at 1pm followed by the main event at 3pm when OEs take on a strong Jersey 1st team who finished fifth in the Championship last season.
There will be a final midweek warm-up game on Wednesday, August 22 against as yet confirmed opponents at College Meadow (kick-off 7.45pm).
“Last year, I felt we misjudged our pre-season schedule which left us under-cooked going into our first ever season in National One," Lach said. “I think you could see that in our first two games at Esher and at home to Bishop’s Stortford, where we looked very ring-rusty. I think there’s a fine line between ensuring the players have fully rested and recovered from the aches, pains and injuries of the previous season and getting them battle-ready for the new campaign. I hold my hands up: I got it wrong last year, so the buck stops with me on that one."
The OEs boss continued: “This is a far tougher pre-season build-up this year. We know Bury St Edmunds well, they are putting a strong squad together and are always a difficult proposition on their own turf. They will be in the mix at the top end of Nat 2 come the end of next season I'm sure, so that will be a good test for us first up.
"Then we fly out to Jersey to face their Championship side which will be the toughest game we've ever faced in pre-season and exactly the challenge I’m looking for to see where we are at as squad and areas we need to improve upon before the start of the season. We will learn a lot about the side in Jersey.”
Updated 12:40 - 25 Jul 2018 by Jon Edwards