ILMINSTER Town’s new manager, Matt Hughes, says he is ‘excited’ at the prospect of leading the Blues in the Somerset County league next season.

With the new season fast approaching, Hughes has just over two weeks to fine-tune his squad for the opener at Berrow on August 9 (3pm).

But the 28-year-old primary school teacher is pleased with the way preparations are going.

Hughes, who has taken over from Darren Manley, said: “Morale seems to be very good.

“Everyone seems to be enjoying training and taking on board the way I want to play.

“Last year the team was hovering near the bottom for a while after losing so many matches due to cancellations but I’m hoping things will be better this year.

“Realistically we need to get a secure position and then try to push on from there.”

Hughes, who has a range of coaching and scouting experience, moved down from the Midlands last year and spent last season playing for Bedminster in the Perry Street league.

He added: “I’m excited to be taking over a Ilminster because the club has a lot of potential especially if they proposed move to Britten’s Field comes off and hopefully we will start to move forward.”

Hughes says he is happy with the players in the squad but is looking to bring in new faces to increase competition for places.

He added: “I’ll be looking to freshen things up a bit and introduce a few new ideas.

“I’ll also be looking for consistency with selection and keep the team the same as much as I can.”

Ilminster lost 2-1 to Axminster in their first pre-season friendly but Hughes said he was happy with the performance and the chances created.

A scheduled match with Tintinhull last Saturday was cancelled but two more friendlies have been planned.

Next Wednesday (July 30) Ilminster are playing at Burnham United while on Saturday, August 2 they are away to Sherborne reserves (3pm).

n Ilminster’s presentation was attended by members of senior mens and ladies teams.

First team awards: men’s first team: top goalscorer – Charlie Rutter; players’ player – Lewis Gillman; manager’s player – Wayne Lewis; young player – Lewis Gillman.