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Big match preview: Shortwood v Hartpury University FC

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New Shortwood boss Dan Gillespie is taking a measured approach as his side start the new Hellenic League Division One West season at home to title favourites Hartpury University tonight, Tuesday, 7.45pm.

Following a raft of departures, Gillespie, who replaces former boss Ian Soule, has spent a summer rebuilding a new-look Shortwood side which boasts just captain Joe Tryner and midfielders Keegan Bowes and Finlay Byrnes from the team that finished last season in ninth place with 12 defeats from 36 games.

Gillespie, the former Newent Town and Gala Wilton boss has added assistant manager Matt Tunley and goalkeeping coach Andrew Moody to his backroom staff and a number of players from his old club Gala Wilton, he said: “I’m really looking forward to the season. The recruitment has gone very well and the spirit is building nicely.

“There’s no pressure for us this season, I’m not setting any hard and fast targets, both divisions of the Hellenic League are the strongest I can remember, so we’ll stick to our structure and hopefully that will serve us well come the end of the season.”

Gillespie was delighted to retain Byrnes, Bowes and Tryner: “Keeping those lads was integral, Fin is a Nailsworth lad and with Tryner staying as captain we’ve got lads who have demonstrated their commitment to the club.

“I didn’t know much about Bowes before, but he’s put in some impressive performances in pre-season.”

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