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Walsham-le-Willows boss Trevor Collins calls on players to use last season's impressive displays as a springboard for 2022/23

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Walsham-le-Willows manager Trevor Collins is keen to see his side build upon last season’s encouraging performances.

Primarily a young squad with a smattering of experience, Collins’ players won themselves many admirers on their way to finishing seventh in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division.

Only once in the club’s history have Walsham acquired more points and ended up in a higher position at Step 5, which was back in 2012/13 when they came sixth.

Trevor Collins is eager to see his young Walsham-le-Willows side build upon last term's impressive performance. Picture: Mecha Morton
Trevor Collins is eager to see his young Walsham-le-Willows side build upon last term's impressive performance. Picture: Mecha Morton

And ahead of tomorrow’s opener at Soham Town Rangers (3pm) – followed by Tuesday’s home clash against Mildenhall Town (7.45pm) – Collins is seeking further development.

He said: “We always like to keep our targets in-house because if you go too public you’re in real danger of shooting yourself in the foot.

“But the lads knew what we wanted from them last season and they did really well.

“We had a tricky period just after Christmas when there was not a run of games and I think they struggled with a lack of rhythm, but we recovered and finished well.

“When you take some time and look at it all we made some massive steps. We’re going in the right direction and to the right timescale as well.

“Some of the lads have played a decent amount of football at this level now and they’re gaining confidence. It’s a good bunch, a tight knit bunch, and we really want to see them continuing to grow together.”

Collins is hopeful that one of his summer signings will prove to be the perfect foil for the younger members of the group.

Playmaker Scott Chaplin has arrived from Mildenhall, having also had spells with the likes of Stowmarket Town, Bury Town and Felixstowe & Walton United.

“I’ve known Chappers for a long time. What he does around the place in training and during matches, the young lads can learn a lot from him,” added Collins.

“He makes things look so simple and effortless. The reaction to him coming in has been fantastic and if the lads can follow his lead they won’t be far off.”

Collins is also equally delighted to have retained the services of Jamie Smith up front.

After scoring 23 goals last term – only six strikers scored more across the division – it is little surprise other clubs expressed an interest.

However, he has decided that his long-term future is best served by remaining at Summer Road.

Collins said: “Jamie is committed to us and that’s great news.

“I think he knows he’s in a good place. One day I’m sure he’ll play higher but the worst thing he could do at his age is rush it.

“He’s got plenty of time on his side. He’s a lad that is prepared to work hard and I’m sure if he has another season or two with us and performs then he’ll get his chance.”

In terms of outgoings, Walsham have lost Kieran Twinn (Mildenhall) and Charlie Norman (Mulbarton Wanderers).