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Lightbourne optimistic about Hood’s chances

Usually teams getting relegated begin as two of the favourites for promotion in the First Division, but Robin Hood coach Kyle Lightbourne is playing down his team's expectations for the upcoming season.

Hood dropped out of the Premier Division after two seasons last year and the club subsequently lost some key players, including striker Antwan Russell who has signed with English non-league club Ilkeston, Dominique Williams who moved to Dandy Town, Quadir Maynard and Takeyhi Walker to North Village and Dunte Albuoy to newly promoted St David's. Even so Lightbourne has cause for optimism in a season in which the club will rebuild.

“We lost a few players of good standard while a couple of them didn't play that much and we sort of encouraged the better players to leave so that they can play at a higher level,” said Lightbourne.

“We picked up a couple of players who haven't played any league football and we've had good numbers out. We will probably find it difficult at times because we're not going to have the quality, but we will be competitive, I'm sure of that.”

Hood have had four practice matches against Premier Division teams Dandy Town, Southampton Rangers, Cougars and Wolves and managed to beat Rangers 4-0, though Lightbourne knows teams cannot put too much into such results. However, he was pleased with the performance of sailor-turned-footballer Jesse Kirkland who looked threatening against Rangers and whom Lightbourne thinks will be a key player for them this season.

“Who is going to score our goals is going to be the key area, but hopefully defensively we will be sound,” said Lightbourne. “Jesse Kirkland caused them (Rangers) all sorts of problems with his pace and he will be a key player for us because he is fitter than the average player. And we've picked up Shaun Brown from Dandy Town who looks a good player.

“We've had a couple of practice matches and seen some good signs. The results are important but you can get false hope from results.

“This year, to be honest, training has been better for us, we have been a lot more organised. I want to get the training habits right and last year the training was not good from half of the unit so it didn't make training enjoyable. This season we have had good numbers out and the guys have done some fitness work which is the most important thing about preseason and we're hoping to start off solid and just try to be hard to beat and see where we go from there.

“We've got five or six guys who have never really played league football so we don't know what to expect from them until they get into the heat of the battle. We've got a good nucleus of players that we can count on week in, week out.”

Lightbourne tips a few teams to be in the running for promotion, including St George's who were also relegated last season and other teams like Devonshire Colts and X'Roads.

“St George's, I would imagine, will be pretty good, they didn't lose too many players, X'Roads have been there and thereabouts, knocking on the door for the last five years and then there is Devonshire Colts who just missed out on promotion last year,” said Lightbourne.

“Somerset Eagles are another team who have a chance and even Ireland Rangers have picked up some players. We're not going to put any pressure on ourselves, but we're in better shape than we were last year. I'm just hoping we can have a steady season.”

Robin Hood coach Kyle Lightbourne

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Published September 11, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated September 10, 2013 at 8:35 pm)

Lightbourne optimistic about Hood’s chances

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