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Ashanike wants Hamlets to be involved at top of the table

PUBLISHED: 15:00 17 August 2018

Action from the Essex Senior League match between Clapton and Tower Hamlets (pic Tim Edwards)

Action from the Essex Senior League match between Clapton and Tower Hamlets (pic Tim Edwards)

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A piece from our Kick-Off pullout, where we look ahead to what Tower Hamlets can do this season

Action from the Essex Senior League match between Clapton and Tower Hamlets (pic Tim Edwards)Action from the Essex Senior League match between Clapton and Tower Hamlets (pic Tim Edwards)

AJ Ashanike believes Tower Hamlets can impress in this season’s Essex Senior League and feels a top-five finish is a realistic ambition for the club.

The Mile End Stadium outfit ended up in 11th spot during the 2017/18 campaign, but it was always seen as a year of consolidation with relegation coming into effect.

After comfortably surviving a battle for the drop, Hamlets are ready to push on and have made a plethora of signings.

“I think with the players we have on board this season, we are really confident and I expect my team to be in the top-five, so that’s the aim,” said Ashanike.

“Last season we did what we had to do and I have now brought in Darrell Queeley as my assistant manager and with Joe Biscoe, I think we can do well.”

Hamlets have added some real quality to their squad as former Barking and Ilford ace Eden Nelson has signed up for the new campaign.

Elsewhere, Ashanike has strengthened in midfield by bringing in Luke Thomas and Sipho Mtyanda following time at rival local clubs.

And ex-Dulwich Hamlet ace Dominic Weston has moved to Mile End for the journey alongside various other new and old faces.

The division has also had a bit of a freshen up with three clubs – Great Wakering Rovers, Basildon United and FC Romania – going up to the Bostik North and a number of others joining.

Saffron Walden Town, Stanway Rovers, Hoddesdon Town and St Margaretsbury have moved sideways from other step five leagues in the non-league pyramid while Hackney Wick and Burnham Ramblers suffered relegation.

But Ashanike expects the season to be as difficult as it ever has been, adding: “I wouldn’t say it will be weaker because the league is always open and it doesn’t matter what team you face.

“A lot depends on which side turns up on the day and there are four new clubs involved and it looks a tough division again.

“Walthamstow look very, very good and you have Takeley in there and I think it will be open again, but it is anyone’s to win this season.

“I know a little bit about Saffron Walden from my time at Ilford because we played against them in the cups, but the rest I don’t know much.

“Obviously as the season progresses, we will watch them more and know what they are about and what they will bring to the table.”

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