PRE-SEASON is over and the serious business starts now for Taunton Town.

The Peacocks won their final friendly last Friday night, at home to Yeovil Town, and head of football Rob Dray believes they are in a good place ahead of this Saturday’s Southern League kick-off.

“Our preparation has been good, I think we’ve played about the right number of games [eight], although it is difficult with the enlarged break,” Dray told the County Gazette.

“It was important that we had a rest this week, trained and went through some of the basics.

“We have performed better than I expected [in pre-season], given we have a new team and a young team, and you don’t expect the players to gel as quickly as they have done.”

As well as an overhaul of the playing staff, Dray has a new team captain, Nick Grimes, who is supported by Dan Sullivan as vice-captain and Lloyd Irish as club captain.

Dray said: "[Grimes] has always been captaincy material, and we've seen a difference in him in the last two weeks.

"He's grabbed hold of it [the captaincy] and stuck his mark on it."

Dan McBeam, 19, is the latest in a line of young players to bring the average age of the squad down, and Dray added: “It gives us the opportunity to get lads into really good habits, as many of the young lads aspire to go higher.

“Matt Buse and Luke Spokes have shown that we can push players back into full-time football.”

This Saturday (3pm) sees the Peacocks travel up to London for a fixture against Hayes & Yeading United.

“Hayes haven’t changed too much from last season in terms of personnel, and I would expect them to be very strong again,” said Dray.

“It’s one of the toughest games we could have had to start with, but we prefer to go there when it’s dry and warm.

“We go there with no fear.

“I hope we can go under the radar a bit this season, against teams who are more established and have bigger budgets - your Westons and Truros.”