Whitchurch Alport’s star striker Alex Hughes cannot wait to get the new season’s preparations underway after the re-appointment of club legend, Luke Goddard.

In a two-part interview with The Herald, Hughes acknowledges the disappointments of last season, how he’s managed to maintain fitness levels, what the players have been doing during lockdown and how they’ve kept each other motivated.

He even has some advice for the manager regarding recruitment policies to bring more goals to the team. Hughes, 26, who lives in the town with partner Charlotte and their two children Carter and Alba, felt his own form was below the required standard last term.

He said: “I fully supported the league’s decision to stop the season when they did and at the time I was hardly firing on all cylinders,” he said. “I’d only scored three goals since the start of November and one of those was a penalty. I suffered with a lot of niggling ankle injuries and you carry that with you.”

Alport started the campaign in blistering form winning six of their opening seven league games to lead the table going into October.

Hughes scored 18 goals before the season was curtailed and was one of four Alport players to hit hat-tricks in the opening six weeks but the goals soon dried up and the team started to slip down the table.

“There were too many changes too quickly,” said Hughes. “We lost some really good players and put simply they weren’t replaced. When Matt (Burton) came in, he had his own ideas and of course you’re eager to please to prove you’re worth a place in the team.

“But he brought in Dave Howarth and preferred him over me until he very quickly decided he wanted a move away.

“We created lots of chances under Burts but we couldn’t hit a barn door between us and we were losing games that we should have been winning. Morale was really poor and that ultimately cost him his job.”