28th September 2020 - Bradbury determined to navigate promotion
PETER Bradbury says he is determined to navigate a promotion course for his Rockleaze Rangers charges.
The 32-year-old is into his third term at the helm eager to oversee the successful Marcliff Gloucestershire County League campaign he hopes can elevate his team into non-League step 6 territory for the first time in the club’s eventful 44-year history.
Rangers were fourth in the table and only five points off a pace set by Frampton United at the point of last season’s early conclusion sparked by the coronavirus crisis.
Bradbury’s men commenced their new assault positively enough, with Nick Jones and Jimmy Woolland goals in a 2-1 away defeat of an ambitious Sharpness outfit sat third in the standings at the sudden 2019-20 stoppage.
They followed that up last weekend with a goalless draw against Broadwell Amateurs in a fixture switched from Rangers’ UWE-owned Hillside Gardens facility in Hambrook to Tytherington Rocks’ ground.
Rockleaze collide with Bristol rivals Bromley Heath United on their Pomphrey Hill travels tomorrow (3pm) hoping to quickly return to winning ways.
Their wary leader, however, anticipates "a more competitive" County League scrap this time around where the full season goes.
"Wick, Frampton and Sharpness were all up there in the top four with us back in March when the football had to stop and I expect them to be challenging strongly again along with Shirehampton who have just joined our league," Bradbury stressed.
"When we play these teams we must be sure to get good points’ returns from them as the one criticism I had last year was we didn’t put enough of the top sides away when we had the chances.
"Everything off the pitch is geared up to us going up. We will have an on-site bar in place at the ground by January, something which had held us up from applying for promotion the past two years.
"We have floodlights and a 3G pitch fully enclosed so the new bar will be the last piece of the jigsaw in that respect.
"A place in the Toolstation League would be my preference although I know the FA’s boundaries are being redrawn. So if it were to be the Hellenic League for us, so be it.
"I just want to see Rockleaze Rangers out of the County League after a decade and more establishing ourselves in it."
The Rangers supremo has overseen intriguing personnel changes he believes can inspire that coveted push for step 6 football. Jimmy Woolland, brother of central midfielder Ollie who featured 17 times for the first team in the County League last term, has been promoted from the third XI.
Fellow winger Jay Moore has returned to Rockleaze after last season’s stint with Stoke Rangers in Suburban Premier Two but there has been disappointment too with the departures of prolific centre-forward Dan Webb, to Toolstation Premier Division Cribbs, and winger Rory Langdon, to London due to work circumstances.
Of those two early outings, Bradbury conceded: "Against Sharpness we left it a bit late after a terrible first 45 minutes by us followed by a much better second half.
"Saturday against Broadwell was hardly a classic on a dry and hard Tytherington pitch in which we struggled to get our fluency going.