Boss Mallows hoping for a higher finish for his Flourmen

James Mallows
James Mallows

James Mallows is confident Whitworth will be ready for their early start to the season when they take on Cogenhoe United on Sunday (1.15pm kick-off).

The Flourmen have been given a home clash against their county rivals as part of the annual Groundhop Weekend, which gets the Future Lions United Counties League season under way.

Whitworth struggled in the Premier Division before ensuring survival late on in the last campaign having been promoted from Division One in the previous season.

And while Mallows will be one of the few managers in the top-flight working without a budget, he is hopeful his team can finish in a higher position this time around.

He said: “It’s probably a week too early and because of this early start, it meant an earlier start for pre-season training as well which wasn’t easy with England doing so well at the World Cup!

“But we will be ready for it and we will be our usual selves.

“It’s not easy because I don’t have a budget to play with and even other teams around us who didn’t have one last season have one now and players will go and play for £20 if they can get it somewhere.

“We just want to try to finish higher than we did last season and for that to happen we need to be better against the teams in and around us because that’s what let us down.

“If we improve in the right areas then I am confident we can do better than last time.

“It could be a really tough start because Cogenhoe finished last season really well and they will hope that they still have that momentum.

“But we are hoping to have a big crowd in and we will try to get through the match with a positive result and then go from there.”

Whitworth have been boosted by the return of striker Deven Ellwood from neighbours Wellingborough Town.

But Mallows confirmed four members of his squad are suspended for the first three games due to bans carried over from last season.