Brandon Thomas-Asante

Salford City winger Brandon Thomas-Asante spoke with optimism when asked about new manager Neil Wood and the squad’s collective expectations ahead of the 2022-23 season.

The 23-year-old, who scored 13 goals in all competitions last season, was keen to assert the club’s lofty ambitions despite repeatedly missing out on the playoffs since their promotion to the Football League four years ago: “I think here at this club we’ve never not aimed for the top. It’s definitely a case of getting those automatics (promotion) and winning the league.”

Thomas-Asante also mentioned the impact new manager Neil Wood, who replaced Gary Bowyer in May after a disappointing end to the season, has had on the squad.

This is his maiden role as a first-team manager, after three years coaching the Manchester United U23 squad. The winger said: “The gaffer’s come in and made it very clear the height of standards he expects from us and we expect from ourselves as well, so I think it’s definitely the ambition to win the league and we attack that every day in training.

“I think the gaffer’s gone round it the best way you can which is not even to be forcing to say win the league, but in the expectations, he has of us it says clearly there is no room for second place in anything.

“I think that’s really what takes us onto pushing for every game to get a win and when we’re competing with teams in pre-season like Rotherham, Blackpool and Hertha Berlin and we’re coming out of games with maybe a 0-0 or a 1-0, and the gaffer’s making it clear he’s not happy with that. It sort of sets a tone that in the league there’s high expectations, so winning the league’s definitely been made clear to us.”

Brandon Thomas-Asante last season.

The attacker finished by touching on the attention the Ammies receive from their counterparts across the League. He said: “You can definitely see whenever someone comes here, you sometimes hear the celebrations, even comments from opposition players knowing they’re excited to play against us and they really want to beat us.

“It’s a compliment in a way because you can see the little reactions and it kind of spurs you on that you have other people looking to us. It’s down to us to live up to the expectations that we are a force to be reckoned with as a group and on an individual basis. I think we all have to play our part in that but I like it and you can tell people look at us which is a good problem to have.”

Salford will be aiming to make a positive start to the season when they face Mansfield Town, who they failed to beat in the previous campaign, at home this Saturday.

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