Josh Barton speaks to Oli Lowes ahead of pre-season.
JB: You’ve agreed that you will be with Portland again for the next season, what are your personal goals for the next campaign and what do you believe can be achieved by the lads?
OL: Joining Portland again for this year is a big one for me. For the team? Last year we were getting used to each other, playing with the same team week in, week out but this year, we are looking to push on. Personally, I’m looking to play 40+ games, staying injury free and getting 15-20 goals this season.
JB: We had our end of season trip to Lloret De Mar out in Spain, obviously lots of fun and games out there, how important do you think a trip like that is for the lads, most of which have signed again for the upcoming season?
OL: Of course (it’s important), there was 16/17 of us who went on holiday, bringing us closer off the pitch and bringing us closer on the pitch. We’ve done very well as a team to stay together and everyone who went (on the trip) is staying on. It will help us on the pitch as a team and move up the league.
JB: In terms of pre-season as a player, it can be a tricky time in terms of fitness, level of activity and the training that players have to endure. What are your thoughts on pre-season as a whole; are you expecting it to be a tough one? Are you also looking forward to it and getting back out onto the grass with the football out?
OL: Pre-season for any player is the toughest part, getting back to fitness, getting sharp and getting focused, getting back into the routine of playing matches. Obviously we have some decent friendlies coming up against Weymouth and Dorchester (Town). They will be a real test for us but it will show where we are as a team. Pre-season as a whole, I think Franklyn (Clarke) and Sam (Poole) will have it sorted for us to get us ready for first game of the season.
JB: Talking about the club on a wider basis, how important is the connections at Portland and the feel at Portland in a player’s decision to first join Portland and then stay at Portland for their development? You’re a young player yourself, with plenty of football ahead of you in your career, do you feel that Portland is a good club for development for young players, and a good club with a community / family feel to it?
OL: Of course, obviously Sam and Frank are young themselves, they are the youngest managers in the league. Being around players who have done what I am trying to do, go up the leagues and progress as a player, I think it’s a perfect environment. In terms of the club itself, it’s only going up I think, getting more fans in, upgrades that are happening, I think it’s just going to keep on going up and keep being a better club.
JB: Last Question; In terms of the season as a whole, we haven’t officially started pre-season yet which includes a couple of good friendlies with teams in higher divisions and ones around us. Going into the new season, with the team we’ve already got and the possibility of a few additions, how far can we go as a group? Will we be challenging towards the top end of the table?
OL: This team, we showed it last season, we have potential to do great things. The players that we’ve got and stayed together, how together we are as a team, if we start well and we prepare well for every game, there is no reason we can’t be top 6/8 in this league. We’ve got the quality and everyone is getting used to Men’s football, Frank and Sam are starting to hit the nail on the head in what is required from us as players. I think anything is capable for us.