Taundry believes Brakes are well equipped to upset the odds

Richard Taundry believes Leamington can compete in the Conference North.
Richard Taundry believes Leamington can compete in the Conference North.

Richard Taundry has stopped short of making any bold predictions ahead of the forthcoming Conference North season despite admitting Leamington are better equipped than ever to compete in their exalted company.

The right-back sampled life in the division with Worcester City and Solihull Moors before joining Brakes for their ill-fated 2014/15 campaign.

Taundry facing Brakes for Solihull Moors.

Taundry facing Brakes for Solihull Moors.

A failure to win any of their final 11 games condemned Paul Holleran’s side to the drop but Taundry believes his team-mates are far better equipped to survive this season despite the calibre of sides they are facing having gone up a notch.

“I used to set targets but not any more,” he said.

“It’s the old cliche, take each games as it comes. Obviously after getting relegated last time we know it’s going to be tough. We know what we’re up against and we know what frame of mind we need to be in.

“This set of lads are perfect for the league we are going into. They’ve come back into training and they are flying.

“Every year from the top right the way down the leagues gets stronger and stronger.

“But we are growing as a club and developing.”

Having turned out 169 times for Walsall before being released by his boyhood club - “a bitter pill to swallow” - Taundry is not one to get too carried away by the calibre of opposition in the Conference North.

York, Darlington and Kidderminster are among the former Football League clubs battling it out with Salford for favouritism in the betting but they are not the first teams to come to his mind.

“Obviously Telford and Tamworth will be nice because they are 15 minutes from our house,” said Taundry.

“Then there’s Salford and Stockport. Salford have done ridiculous things in the last few years and Stockport are a massive club.”

But while the list of big-name rivals roll off the tongue, Taundry is wary of placing too much importance on Leamington’s less salubrious surrounds acting as a leveller for the division’s rank outsiders.

“It can do in one respect. It depends what frame of mind they are in, what characters they have and the frame of mind of the club.

“But I’ve never been worried by it.”

Seen as an elder statesman in the side but still only 28, an age he struggled to work out himself, Taundry returned to pre-season with a more streamlined appearance.

And he said this was only due in part to his number new one shave.

“I’ve come back fit and healthy and a bit lighter than last year and it’s not just the haircut.

“It should stand me in good stead for the season.”