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Manager Lee Mansell in positive mood as Gloucester City set for Darlington trip

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Author: Roger Jackson, Posted: Friday, 5th August 2022, 10:00

Gloucester City midfielder Lucas Tomlinson Gloucester City midfielder Lucas Tomlinson

Bring it on! That is the battle cry from Gloucester City manager Lee Mansell as he looks ahead to the new National League North campaign.

Gloucester kick off what will be a marathon 46-game league season with a tough-looking trip to Darlington on Saturday, but far from being daunted by the prospect, Mansell sees it as an opportunity to put down a marker for the new season.

“I’m really excited about what this season can bring, what we’re going to look like, from the start of the season to what it looks like at the end,” he said.

“If we can keep going the way we’re going, we’ve done very well during pre-season, we’ve had some good games.

“We’ve progressed, we’ve got better and better as it’s gone on, which has been the most pleasing aspect for me.

“The levels have increased, we’ve added bodies in the right areas and quality as well to take us to that next step. I’m just excited, I’m like a kid at Christmas, I can’t wait for Darlington. I’m very happy at this moment.”

After Darlington, Gloucester have five further league games before the end of August – their first home game is a week on Saturday against Boston United – so they’ll certainly be hoping to hit the ground running.

Gloucester-born Mansell, who will turn 40 next month, took over as manager when the club were struggling in September last year and he eventually guided the club to a 17th-placed finish in what was then a 22-strong division.

It was a tough start and Mansell had to wait close on two months for his first league victory. That 2-0 win over Farsley Celtic was followed by a 2-2 draw at Darlington a week later – the return fixture in Gloucester also finished 2-2 – and Gloucester certainly ended the campaign well with a win and three draws from their final four games.

Mansell, as you would expect, has brought in a number of new faces over the summer – defenders Owen Evans, Ben Morgan and Kennedy Digie, midfielder Lucas Tomlinson, forwards Kieran Phillips and Tre Mitford and goalkeeper Brandon Hall.

“We’ve got a squad together that will give absolutely everything, we’ve got a squad that will fight for everything, but can also play football first and foremost and play the right brand of football that I want to promote going into the season,” said Mansell, who started his playing career with Luton Town and went on to play for Oxford United, Torquay United, where he played more than 380 games, and Bristol Rovers.

“It’s exciting, you look across the league and there’s going to be another 23 teams who are in the exact same place I am at this moment in time – we’re excited, we want to get it started.”

Those teams include some real big-hitters such as Chester, Hereford and Kidderminster Harriers, as well as Darlington, of course, and Mansell is clearly hoping his summer acquisitions can make an early impact.

Mansell, who started his coaching career at Bristol Rovers, has known Tomlinson, who played on loan at Gloucester last season, and Phillips for a number of years.

“Lucas had a really fruitful spell here last year, especially towards the back end of the season,” he said.

“We were keeping tabs on Kieran when he was at Swindon Supermarine, he scored a lot of goals there. I had the blessing of working with both of them since they were 16 at Bristol Rovers.

“I personally think that they’re EFL talents to be honest with you, we’re absolutely delighted to have them on board.

“They’re really good, young prospects that hopefully, over the course of the season, will bear fruit and I can only see them getting better and better.”

Other Images

New Gloucester City signing Kieran Phillips

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