Hitchin Town out to hit the ground running in the Southern League says Burke

Hitchin Town manager Mark Burke is looking for a good start to the 2022-2023 season.

Hitchin Town manager Mark Burke is looking for a good start to the 2022-2023 season. - Credit: DANNY LOO PHOTOGRAPHY

Hitchin Town are ready to continue their progression as they kick-off another Southern League season with a road trip.

They go to Barwell on Saturday and after a disappointing season last time out, where they spent most of the year flirting with relegation from the Premier Division Central, long-serving boss Mark Burke knows the importance of building on their late climb up the rankings with a good start.

He sad: "Before the start of pre-season I said we would be really well drilled, we were going to be organised and we were going to be really hard to beat.

"If we can take the work rate, the fitness and the organisation [we've shown in friendlies] into the season, then I’m hoping we’ll have a better start than we have in the last couple. 

"That’s what we need to do. 

"There is still work to do but there are more established players to come back from injury. 

"We can bolt them on to the foundation we have created and hopefully we can get off to a good start."

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Their last three pre-season matches all ended in draws.

They concluded the programme on Tuesday with a 1-1 draw at Cambridge City, Lewis Barker converting from a Kye Tearle cross, and it was the same result on Saturday when the Canaries drew at Biggleswade United, Jack Morrell putting them in front from the penalty spot.

Before that Hitchin had enjoyed an impressive 0-0 draw with Watford's U23 squad.

"I really enjoyed the game," said Burke. "It was a good tempo and we got everything out of it that we wanted. 

"I’m happy with the clean sheet, we defended for our lives and put our bodies on the line, which was great. 

"Our fitness levels looked good so we’re getting there with that and there was a lot of hard work and endeavour. 

"We created a couple of efforts on the counter attack. 

"I was missing five players from last year who would have played regularly so I’m really pleased with what was a skeleton squad."

Hitchin have completed their squad for the year with a couple of new signings.

Sam Meakes, a forward, was on loan with the club briefly last season but has now signed permanently from St Albans City while another to return is Toby Syme.

He was at Top Field during the 2017-2018 season and spent last year with Harpenden Town.