Great start for new Leighton Town manager Lee Bircham
When he left Hemel Hempstead Town six months ago, he wasn’t looking for another club, especially this season – he had been enjoying supporting his three sons with their football.
But the impressive set-up at Bell Close and its potential was enough to change his mind.
“I had a chat with Sean Downey (Director of Football) and the chairman John McClaughlin, I’ve known him a long time, and I came away really surprised how well run the club is, what a massive supporter base it has and that it’s a sleeping giant for that level,” said Bircham, who started last Tuesday, with the help of assistant Tony Joyce and his brother Marc, an ex-pro who will lend a hand for the first few weeks.
"Having six games to go is like a ‘pre’ pre-season,” said the new manager. “It gives the players time to show what they can do and nail their colours to the mast for next season.
"Having a good supporter base is really important (Saturday’s game was watched by 355) and it’s our job to keep them coming and enjoying it.
"We can’t get promoted this year, the best we can finish is third, but it gives us a chance to look at things and make it our target for next year.”
In the meantime, there’s the excitement of the Bedfordshire Senior Cup final to look forward to, on Tuesday, April 26. Leighton will take on Southern League Division One Central leaders Bedford Town at Luton Town’s Kenilworth Road ground.
Bircham just had time to make one signing last week, bringing in centre forward Duncan Culley, whose last club was Bracknell Town.
Culley scored both second-half goals – the first a spectacular bicycle kick – against Flackwell Heath.
“He will offer valuable experience,” added Bircham. “I’ve only brought him in, I want look at the players we have got – those who have got us to the final.
"They are good lads. They know they have under-achieved this year, but they have six games to show they want to be at the club next year, I’m dangling the carrot.”
Town are next at home to Milton Keynes Irish on Saturday, April 16.