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Soham Town Rangers happy to be regarded underdogs in their new league

Soham Town Rangers have become accustomed to being underdogs in recent seasons – and 2021/22 looks like being no different.

It has been a summer of change at Julius Martin Lane, with a lateral league switch as part of the FA’s non-league restructure accompanied by the departure of some key and experienced players.

Chief among them was goalkeeper Josh Pope, who headed back to Mildenhall Town, while goalscorer Sam Mulready and midfielder Ryan Auger have opted to remain in the Isthmian League North Division with Dereham Town and Bury Town respectively.

Soham player-manager Robbie Mason
Soham player-manager Robbie Mason

The Greens, meanwhile, are preparing for life in the Northern League Division One Midlands alongside some big names, large budgets and longer trips.

Nevertheless, player-manager Robbie Mason believes it is a scenario that could well suit his players.

“We’ll be playing new teams that we don’t know too well, so in that sense it’s a step into the unknown,” he said.

“But we’ll be unknown to a lot of those sides as well.

“Travel wise we might not be able to get to watch a lot of the sides before we play them, but that means we’ll just have to focus on ourselves.

“There’s some big budgets about and some very good teams. We’ll be the underdogs, but that’s always suited us.

“I think we’ll surprise a few teams with how we play, but we also have to make sure we dig in at times as well.”

The aforementioned player exits have forced Mason and his management team to be active this summer in terms of recruitment, with ex-Cambridge United youngsters Finley Iron and Sam Bennett particularly eye-catching additions.

Young striker Oliver Ward has also arrived from Witchford 96 along with left-back Warren McSkelly, previously of Huntingdon Town.

It has the makings of a youthful squad – one that Mason may look to add to as the weeks develop.

“We’ve got to move on from the lads that have left,” he added.

“The squad we have has a real good feel about it. The average age is probably 21 or 22, which has it’s challenges, but it also means we get to work with them and shape how we want to play.

“We might still be a couple more away from where we want to be, but these things take a bit of time.

“It might be that we do something a few weeks into the season once it settles down.

“The main thing is the lads we’ve got our committed and excited to get going.”

Soham begin on Saturday with a trip to Sutton Coldfield Town (3pm), followed by a home clash with Stamford on Tuesday (7.45pm).

New signing Bennett looks set to miss both fixtures with an ankle injury.

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