Ashford start their league season on Saturday with just about their longest trip of the season, away to Cambridge City. 

The first thing to note is that Cambridge are currently ground sharing at St. Ives Town and the address of the ground is St. Ives FC, Westwood Road, St. Ives, PE27 6DT.  It is a trip of just around 80 miles using the M25 and A1M.  We have been there once before when we came up against St. Ives themselves but this is the first time that we have ever met Cambridge who were unlucky to be relegated last season from the Premier Division on goal difference, after amassing 47 points.

There is an eloquent piece on their web site from which can be gleaned that, like ourselves, they have retained the vast majority of their squad from last season and have added a few new players just like ourselves.  They have already been installed in some quarters as one of the favourites in what will be their first stint at this level after reaching the Conference South in 2004 before dropping back to the Southern League in 2008.

Ashford have no injury worries and the squad is augmented by the return of Samad Kazi.  The final friendly at South Park turned into a disappointing affair with the referee abandoning the match after 40 minutes due to lightning and torrential rain.  It was even more disappointing to see them taking their full fee which we had agreed to play.  The writer is old enough to remember  when referees were only too pleased to take friendlies for fitness purposes and would refuse any money more often than not.  It seems those days have well and truly gone.