When Dan Andrade asked Jersey Bulls captain James Queree about the new season starting he responded ‘I think I speak for myself and all the lads that we are excited to get going again. It’s been a long break but we have been training hard the last 6 weeks and the new lads that have come in will certainly make us stronger this season.’
The Bulls face Beckenham Town on Saturday in the first game since being promoted into the Combined Counties Premier South division. Queree continued ‘We know that the league is going to be more physical and intense so we have to make sure we get off to the best possible start.’
It has been a long pre-season for the Bulls, including multiple sessions with Jersey CrossFit to build up their strength for the new season, in the new league. ‘Overall pre-season has gone well, we have incorporated more strength & conditioning work with Joe Parkinson which has helped lay the foundations for the season ahead. The last couple of weeks have been more football focused as we prepare for our first game versus Beckenham.’
Bulls will be going into the game Saturday with no pre-season minutes under their belt, mainly due to the ongoing pandemic. Queree added ‘The lack of games/match fitness of course is an issue, but it is out of our control and we can only focus on what we can control. I know Ian, Russell and the board have done everything they can to get us games but unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be. To date, touch wood, we haven’t been impacted with COVID as a playing group and the lads are looking fit and strong. We have a lot of strength and depth to this squad so we aren’t short of options.’
Gary Freeman has brought in a few new faces to add to those options, with Queree explaining why they are all good additions to the already strong squad. ‘Luca Margaroli, Jake Prince and Joe Kilshaw were all part of the JFA Inter-League squad in May so we know what they bring. Jonny Willows & Robbie Scott will help push Euan (Van der Vliet), whilst Lorne Bickley has come back to Jersey after a few years playing away so will be a great asset up top. We also have Jack Boyle, who is coming back from injury and will bring a lot of value to the squad on and off the field. Even young Sammy Sutcliffe is a great talent and the way he is progressing he is going to put me into early retirement! They have all settled in well, bought into what we are about and will help improve the squad which is exciting for the year ahead.’ With Freeman bringing in new coaches Dan Seviour and Richard Herbert there are certainly plenty of fresh faces to help Bulls on their new journey.
Part of the new opportunities this season is bringing the club and players is the fact they are entering the FA Cup, with their first tie in the historic cup coming next weekend. ‘The FA Cup is going to be a great occasion and is something we will all want to be part of. Hopefully with limited COVID impact it can be a great day. It’s the magic of the FA Cup and anything can happen so I am sure we will enjoy the journey and see how we get on.’
The game will be at Springfield Stadium and is set to be the first game back in front of a Jersey crowd since 7th March 2020. Queree continued ‘Of course the fans were a core part of our success in the 2019/2020 season and we can’t wait for them to be back at Springfield. As a player it’s great to play in front of a lively crowd on a weekly basis so hopefully they start where they left off for the first home game on August 7th.’
When asked what his goals are for the season, the Bulls captain responded ‘I don’t really set any goals personally other than to try stay fit, and help the team as best I can. Luke (Campbell) scores all the goals for the defenders so I am happy for him to do that and of course we get our joy out of clean sheets, but that is a collective effort. As a team we will just focus on the next game and try and play good football. There will be a lot harder challenges this season than in previous seasons, which will test us as a squad, but this is why we play and signed for the Jersey Bulls.’
Queree finished off by saying ‘We can’t wait to see the fans again and we are looking forward to playing in front of them at home and away games. It will be a tough season, so we will certainly need them but we look forward to going through the season together. Also, a big thanks to all of our sponsors (new and old) that have supported the Bulls during the last couple of seasons as without their commitment and support we wouldn’t be here so hopefully we can continue to have success together.’
All at Sportscast Jersey would like to wish Jersey Bulls all the best of luck for the upcoming season. We hope the pandemic doesn’t affect it and you have a successful year!