With the 2019-20 season forced to end prematurely due to the Coronavirus outbreak, tauntontown.com took the opportunity to catch up with Head of Football Rob Dray to gain his views on the past season and his plans for when football resumes. 

The support has continued to grow for the football club this season. Any messages for the supporters?

It was important to draw a line under this season and it was tough for the game administrators to keep everyone happy. We feel for Truro and other teams in their position who have been denied the chance of going up. You had Jersey Bulls and Vauxhall Motors having already won promotion and have now been denied who you have to feel for but when people are losing their lives and their jobs some things are more important. It’s so important to make sure the supporters, players, staff and committee are all safe. It’s important to me that everyone is well, and we can get you all back hopefully at the normal time for pre-season and give it a good go for the supporters next season.

It was disappointing but understandable the season ended this way; how do you think the season went? 

Overall, I’m pleased we were 6th when we finished and stayed in the play-offs for the best part of the season. We had some really good spells where we were excellent. Having been fortunate over the last couple of years we had some tough draws in the FA Cup and FA Trophy. There is room for improvement, our goals against is something we need to improve on for instance. We have a great, honest bunch of lads who love the club and it was hard work for them this season. If anything was going to go wrong with the postponements through February and the stoppage in March it was going to go wrong but we are relatively pleased with the season and look on to the next one.

Looking at the cup competitions are you looking to improve on the performances in them next season or is the league more important? 

We need good cup runs. The FA Cup and FA Trophy are crucial for the club, there is no doubt about it. It is the luck of the draw to a degree, we had two very tough ties last season. We got Aveley in the Trophy who went onto the quarter finals knocking out other higher league opposition, and Havant & Waterlooville in the Cup who are one of the top sides in the National League. Looking on to next season we always want to have a good run in these competitions.

We’ve had great loan signings from Exeter City, Bristol City and Plymouth Argyle, will we see more loan signings from these clubs next season? 

Yes, we have made some great connections with these clubs. It was important and one thing I wanted to do this year was make these connections. Exeter City, Bristol City and Plymouth Argyle have been really good to us and we are very grateful for the lads we have had, they have fitted in well and done well for us so we will be looking for a couple of good loan signings next season.

Are there any positions you want to bolster during the summer after looking back at the season? 

There are three or four positions right through the team we want to better and we feel needs freshening up to a degree. We are looking now, and I have spoken to a couple of players already who we will look at. It all depends on the situation and when we will return to pre-season. I want to try and get most of our business done relatively early and get our core players signed. We are hoping to get deals done for some new ones within the next month to six weeks.

With no promotion or relegation you have a strong idea of who the Peacocks will face next season, does that help with preparation?

I think it will change a little bit. I think some teams will want to switch leagues, whether that will be to drop down or go sideways. There are some teams whose grounds may not be up to scratch. Even though it may be predominantly the same I think there will be a few changes. We are fortunate that we own our own ground and we have no external debts and we don’t rely on one big sugar daddy to plough loads of money in. At the moment all the clubs that rely on chairmen and benefactors putting money into the club are being left as they are currently focusing on their core business which could have a knock-on effect with some clubs’ budgets. I’ve already had a budget meeting with Kev, Brian and Alan so I know exactly where I am with my budget and they’ve been really good with the running of the club this year.

Our pre-season last year included games against Football League opposition, are you looking to take the same approach next season?

It all depends if the EFL restarts. If they do, they will finish late which may cause an overlap on when our friendlies will be with them. We are not in the know currently due to this, but we will be having some Football League teams with one or two more pro clubs coming down next season.