We'll give it everything we can to achieve more than we did last year, says Bromley boss Neil Smith
BROMLEY manager Neil Smith says his side will give everything they can to shock Tranmere Rovers on Saturday.
The giants arrive at Hayes Lane on Saturday on the opening day of the Vanarama National League season.
BROMLEY'S GREATEST DAY: Neil Smith was Mark Goldberg's assistant manager when Bromley won the Conference South title with a 3-0 home win over Weston-super-Mare on 18 April 2015. Smith, who lives in Bromley and went to school at The Ravensbourne School down Hayes Lane, kicks off the new season at home to Tranmere Rovers on Saturday.
If Tranmere show Bromley any disrespect then they will come unstuck at the icnonic Hayes Lane, as Wrexham did on Bromley’s top-flight debut, the Ravens coming from behind to win 3-1.
Bromley enjoyed a super September and were flirting towards the top end of the table, but form dipped and Mark Goldberg parted company with the club in February, with his assistant manager Smith taking interim charge initially before taking over permanently and settling for a respectable fourteenth-placed finish.
Smith said: “It’s a massive game, they’re flying at the moment in pre-season. We’ve been keeping an eye on them and they’re a team that are telling everybody that they’re going to get promotion so we know it’s going to be difficult.
“But we’re going to give it our best shot. I’ve just said to the boys in there, we have got to stick together, and we’re going to go through some rough trips but as long as we’re pulling in the same direction, it won’t be too bad.”
Smith insists that second season syndrome will not be an issue at Hayes Lane this season.
“I still want better,” said Smith, who saw his side lose their last pre-season friendly 2-1 at home to their Premier League neighbours Crystal Palace in front of 3,646 fans at Hayes Lane last night.
“I’m not going to make any mad assumptions on where we should be finishing because the league is going to be so much different from last year.
“There’s so many big clubs in there and the competition will be fantastic but I know that my players, myself and my staff will give it everything we can to achieve more than we did last year.”
Last night’s all-ticket crowd boosted the financial coffers and Smith has been told by chairman Jerry Dolke and his board that he has to work within budget this season.
“I’ve got a foundation that we want to work from,” said Smith.
“The board that I’ve got at the moment are just so supportive. It’s been difficult for me personally and for the club as well to make sure that we’re on an even keel, not just going at it throwing everything at it with no foundation.
“The club have worked hard to make sure that there is a big foundation to work from and that anything that happened in the past will never happen again.”
Smith says players’ have Thursday morning’s train session to force themselves into the opening day starting line-up, although last night’s starting line-up hinted to fans’ that those will be the players that will start against Tranmere Rovers.
“I have a rough idea yes, they’ve got Thursday to break in, if anyone’s going to do it.”
Central defender Jack Holland, 24, was feeling “honoured” to be captain against his former club Crystal Palace last night.
Holland always has time to speak to fans both young and old after the final whistle and is a role model at Hayes Lane.
He lives six minutes away in West Wickham and came up through the youth ranks at Hayes Lane.
“We know Tranmere are going to be a good side, they always have been, but we’re focusing on ourselves, get ourselves up for the game, come out and give it all we’ve got,” said Holland.
Bromley can’t compete with Tranmere Rovers’ history, stadium or wage bill, but Holland is keen shock a few big clubs this season.
He said: “We have aspirations to finish as high as possible really. We started off well last year and sort of tapered off towards the end but this year, with a change of personnel and a change of management, I think we’ll have a really positive season.
“I’ve worked with Neil (Smith) for near on four years now so it wasn’t like we’ve just started all over again. He has his philosophy and Loves (former Gillingham coach Steve Lovell) has come in. He’s got us going even more, a different shape, different tactics and I think we’re not going to change. I think it’s proven that we’re going to be a hard side to beat.
“The self-belief in the team is really high and I think that’s massive for us. I’ve heard people think we’ll finish 18th, I think we will shock a few people this year and really push on.
“Every game is going to be tough in this league, every game, but in front of a home crowd, we’ll get the fans behind us, get our shape, I reckon we can come out with a good result on Saturday.”
Visit Bromley’s website: www.bromleyfc.tv/site
Bromley v Tranmere Rovers
Vanarama National League
Saturday 6th August 2016
Kick Off 3:00pm
At Hayes Lane, Bromley, Kent BR2 9EF