CAGEY Mick Bradshaw is adopting a cautious approach to Rayners Lane’s opening two fixtures of the new Hellenic League season.
The Lane kick off the new Division One East campaign with a tricky looking trip to Chinnor this weekend before taking on Maidenhead United Reserves on Tuesday.
Those two sides finished sixth and seventh respectively last term and Bradshaw’s boys head into the clashes on the back of two straight friendly defeats. It has dented the confidence of the new Lane boss and has seen him alter his tactics to make his side more difficult to beat in the first two games.
He said: “Pre-season started well but the last few games didn’t go particularly well. Our initial optimism has diminished a little bit and we go into the first game not really knowing what to expect. I’m not immediately happy with the team performances.
“We drew with Oxford City Nomads 2-2 and we probably deserved to win that game. They were pretty much what I thought a Hellenic League team would be, well organised and well drilled, but the last couple of games have left me disappointed.
"It’s not always easy to make a proper assessment in pre-season though. You need to get on a proper pitch, not an artificial one, and do it for real as it were. Sometimes it’s difficult to judge at this stage.
"The plan is to be fairly pragmatic in the first two games. We don’t want to be too open but try and get a bit of control. They are two away games as well so we don’t necessarily need to go in all guns blazing.”
Dene Gardner’s Lane won the Hellenic League Division One East last season but were unable to progress to the Premier due to Tithe Farm not being suitable for promotion.
Gardner left the club this summer and was replaced at the helm by Bradshaw.