Ballinger excited for new challenge with FC Stratford

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NICK Ballinger says he can’t wait to get started after he was named as the new manager of FC Stratford this week.

Ballinger joins the club after a highly successful two seasons with Stratford Town’s youth team, culminating in them winning the MFYL Cup last month.

He replaces former boss Dave Poulson, who stood down from the role due to work commitments.

Ballinger’s boys will begin next season in Total Motion Midland League Division Two, after Stratford were awarded promotion following a third-place finish in Division Three last season.

The new boss has promised to bring a mix of youth and some “younger old heads” to the team as the club looks to develop a closer link to the Stratford Town first team.

FC Stratford A have also been promoted and they will start the season in Stratford Alliance Division One, while there could yet be a newly-formed B team starting the season in Division Two.

“I’d like to say a big thank you to Dave Poulson and Tom Milward (Poulson’s assistant),” said Ballinger.

“Congratulations must go to both of them on winning promotion after a great campaign last season, when they had to play so many league games in such a short period of time.

“They’ve left me a club with a great backbone of a squad. I will be looking to mix some youth team players with some younger older heads.

“We also have an abundance of talent at under-18 and under-17, which have come through the Midland Junior Premier League and colts sections of Stratford Town, which I can tap into, so there is a possibility of a third side, who would play in Division Two of the Alliance.

“I’ll be working closely with the A and B teams on development and bringing a bit of competition for places between the sides. Who knows? We may produce a couple of players who may get a chance to train with Stratford Town over the forthcoming season.”

Ballinger feels there will be no pressure on his side, admitting it may take several months for the club to find its feet at a higher level.

“The onus will be very much on development,” Ballinger added.

“It may take a little while to find our feet, especially as it’s going to be a strong league this year, with some seasoned sides in there.

“It could take some of the younger lads time to step up physicality-wise, but I’m certain we’ll hold our own.”

The club is holding open trials at Knights Lane this Sunday and on Sunday, 1st July, from 10.30am until 12pm.