Brady is in a happier place with his Saints

Brackley Town boss 'Jon Brady is in a much happier place
Brackley Town boss 'Jon Brady is in a much happier place

Brackley Town boss Jon Brady says last season’s relegation fight has made him a stronger manager but admits he found it tough going.

Saints were 15 minutes away from being relegated to the Southern League but turned it around and can now look forward to their third campaign at Vanarama National North level.

I knew it would be difficult but I didn’t realise the scale of the challenge

Saints boss Jon Brady

Harrogate Town are the visitors to St James Park on Saturday before Brady’s boys head to Nuneaton Town three days later.

Brady endured a challenging season as shot-shy Saints slipped into trouble but he’s managed to lure back three of the club’s most popular players in Tom Winters, Glenn Walker and Steve Diggin.

The number one spot was a concern to Brady so the capture of former Burton Albion keeper Dan Crane from Hednesford Town will be crucial.

Former Leamington and Hednesford Town midfielder Richard Batchelor will add steel to the centre of the park while Stephan Morley should be a permanent fixture at left-back. Up front, Sam Smith and Diggin will add more experience to David Moyo while Owen Story’s return boosted Saints’ survival chances and he’s in from the start this time.

Brady said: “In terms of the squad, we’re so much further on compared to last season.

“I knew it would be difficult but I didn’t realise the scale of the challenge. There were some very tough times but not once did I want to give up.

“Those tough times have made me stronger, more resilient and more driven. To have turned it around from where we were took some doing but we never stopped believing we could get out of it.

“It’s been a rebuilding process this time and I’ve found it hard to convince players to come here after what happened last season. The better players want to be in contention to win things.

“The spine of the team is much stronger. The top ten will be a big improvement, if we stay injury-free and put our best team out there each week then who knows what we can achieve.”