Bideford ready for first game of Evo-Stik League South West season

PUBLISHED: 14:13 08 August 2017 | UPDATED: 09:22 09 August 2017

Bideford begin their Evo-Stik League South West campaign on Saturday.

Bideford begin their Evo-Stik League South West campaign on Saturday.

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Robins begin their campaign on Saturday at home to Didcot Town.

Craig Allan in action for Bideford. Picture: Matt SmartCraig Allan in action for Bideford. Picture: Matt Smart

A new-look Bideford begin their Evo-Stik League South West campaign on Saturday.

The Robins welcome Didcot Town to the Sports Ground for their first game of the season.

Manager Sean Joyce’s squad has gone through a transformation over the summer, with new additions from front to back.

Among the latest additions to the squad during pre-season were Exeter City loanee Max Smallcombe, former Stoke Gabriel midfielder Louis Roberts and Scott Beattie, who impressed the manager during his trial game against Cardiff City.

Bideford v Appledore. Picture: Matt SmartBideford v Appledore. Picture: Matt Smart

The trio join a host of off-season additions, including four ex-Barnstaple Town players and Brian Levien from Appledore, and Joyce is happy with the end product.

“I’ve trimmed it off and I’ve got the squad I want now,” he said.

“It’s difficult because I could put my hand in a hat with the 18 players I’ve got and every one could play. I’m lucky in a way because we’re a strong 18.”

Bideford’s pre-season campaign ended on Friday night with a 3-0 win over South West Peninsula League side Appledore.

Bideford v Appledore. Picture: Matt SmartBideford v Appledore. Picture: Matt Smart

An early goal from Sean Downing was followed by a finish from Billy Tucker to give them a 2-0 lead at the break.

Downing added the third in the second half with a shot from 25 yards.

While the Robins will doubtlessly be looking to improve on a 10th place finish last season, Joyce said he isn’t yet sure what his expectations are in a tough league.

“I can only see us improving,” he said.

Bideford v Appledore. Picture: Matt SmartBideford v Appledore. Picture: Matt Smart

“It’s going to be a tough league this year because there’s a hell of a lot of money around.

“Expectations? I don’t know. I think we’ll improve and we’ll get better and it’s a long term project with these lads.

“They’re younger and maybe a bit less experienced than the lads I had, but we’ve got more energy and more movement about us.

“Teams know when you play Bideford you’re always going to get a game, so lets see where it takes us.”

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