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Tonbridge Angels striker Lewis Collins is not shy about a run-of-away game while Longmead 3G pitch is perfected

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A string of away games to start the National South season is no fear for Tonbridge striker Lewis Collins.

The Angels are on the road through an undefeated preseason while a 3G pitch is set up at Longmead.

Tonbridge Angels striker Lewis Collins Photo: David Couldridge

They were due to open their campaign at home against Weymouth, but a pitch delay reversed the match.

That means Jay Saunders’ side will play their first three league games away, before tomorrow’s opener at Weymouth, followed by Slough and Collins’ former club Dover.

A former Tonbridge youth player, Collins can’t wait to train and play for Longmead, with his first game scheduled for the Hamptons on 20 August.

But having traveled to Yorkshire during a busy period of pre-season, Tonbridge knows what he’s doing away from home.

Collins said: It’s too important.

“Sometimes a team struggles to go away but we’re used to it and obviously we haven’t lost in preseason so obviously we can do a good job away but obviously that’s the reason. The important thing is the league.

“We won some big clubs in the first three games.

“Weymouth are from the top league last season so they will obviously be good, then Slough and Dover next. Three big tests but that’s good. I need a test to confirm you are in.

Collins, who was lured by Scunthorpe at a young age and finished last season with Saunders at Margate, had no hesitation in following his manager to Tonbridge.

He scored goals at National League level for Dover and many goals at Isthmian level for Seven Oaks.

Lewis Collins follows Jay Sanders from Margate to Tonbridge Photo: David Coldridge
Lewis Collins follows Jay Sanders from Margate to Tonbridge Photo: David Coldridge

The Angels struggled for goals last season, and hopefully Collins can help solve that, especially in the brand of football Sanders is looking to play.

“Jay knows I grew up. He knows where I was before, so it’s a good relationship,” Collins said.

“He understands me as a player, so that’s the biggest advantage.

“I finished last season with him at Margate and loved it, so when he said about coming here, it was a no-brainer.

“He likes to play widemen, he likes to go out on the sides and get the ball in the box, he shoots as many shots at you as he can and he takes on players in the last third. , gives us the license to try to score as many goals as possible.

“As a striker, you get a full license to do what you can do in the last third, so you have to like it.

Saunders makes big changes to the team he inherited from Steve McKim, and the new Tonbridge boys outnumber the old guards.

Managers are particular about who they sign, and Collins says players don’t like it.

“It’s really weird because in the four or five weeks into the preseason, we feel like we’ve solidified so quickly as a group,” he said.

“We’re all on good terms, we’re on good terms, and I feel like we’re already a tight-knit group rather than newcomers.”