IT’S all change at Didcot Town as Jamie Heapy returns for his second spell in charge.

The captain of the Railwaymen during the most successful spell in the club’s history – culminating in an FA Vase triumph in 2005 and promotion out of the Hellenic League – takes over from Andy Ballard for the BetVictor Southern League Division 1 Central campaign.

Heapy ammassed 848 appearances as a player before stepping up to the role of joint manager with fellow club legend Ian Concannon in 2013.

The duo guided the Railwaymen to the first round of the FA Cup for the first time in their history in 2015, before both resigned shortly after.

Following 18 months at Banbury United, there have been lots of changes at Didcot since Heapy was last involved, but he is excited about the challenge, despite a number of key players leaving.

Michael Alexis, Lance Williams, Morgan Williams, Callum McNish, Aaron Woodley and last season’s skipper Adam Learoyd have all departed, leaving a big void.

“There have been a lot of changes, but I want us to be competitive and consolidate and see where that takes us,” Heapy said.

“I’ve lost a lot of experienced lads, which is a disappointment, but I feel that the players that have come in will excite our supporters.

“They are young, energetic lads, some of whom are just starting off in the game, but I will look to help develop them.”

“I have complete faith in the players, and they will trust me. We know they will make some mistakes, but if we work together as a team, we will be fine.

“I still have a good spine to the team.”

Heapy admits that the lure of a return to his home-town club was one he could not turn down.

And having the experience of Andy Sinnott alongside him in the dug-out as his first team coach will be a big plus.

“I grew up at Didcot,” he said. “I was enjoying my time at Banbury with Mike Ford, and Didcot were the only club I would have left for.”

“It feels like unfinished business for me, and coming back is really exciting.

“Having Andy (Sinnott) along side me will be a massive boost. He knows non-league football so well and will be massive for us off the pitch.”

Among those who have joined are Connor Mattimore, from Wantage and Josh Pinn, who had recent spells at North Leigh.

Didcot start their campaign at Kempston Rovers tomorrow.

Players in: Connor Mattimore (Wantage), Mark Francis (unattached), Josh Pinn (unattached), Joe Green (Abingdon Utd), Liam Talboys (Kidlington), Jack Dark (Abingdon Utd), Harry Sampford (unattached).

Players out: Michael Alexis, Lance Williams, Morgan Williams, Callum McNish, Aaron Woodley, Adam Learoyd (all North Leigh), Greg Hackett (Thame Utd), Sam Barder (Thatcham Tn), Felipe Barcelos (Thatcham Tn), Pablo Haysham (Banbury Utd).

North Leigh completed a remarkable escape from relegation last season, and joint boss Craig Dore has been busy throughout the summer signing a raft of new players.

With new chairman Edward Martin at the helm, the Millers are hoping their new recruits will play a big part, starting with a home clash with Berkhamsted tomorrow.

Dore said: “I’m delighted with all the new signings, which hopefully should propel us up the league.

“I’m not going to set a target on where we will finish, but I am confident that we will not be struggling in a relegation battle this season.”

He added: “The players I’ve brought in will complement the young lads from last year.

“Hopefully they will have learned from those experiences and we can look forward to a positive season.”

Players in: Michael Alexis, Lance Williams, Morgan Williams, Callum McNish, Aaron Woodley, Adam Learoyd (all Didcot), Mo Otuyo (unattached).

Players out: Henry Landers (Maidenhead Utd), Noah Alabi (Thame Utd).

Wantage Town are quietly confident of achieving more than merely avoiding relegation.

The Alfredians play their first Southern League game since 2017 when they make the trip to Welwyn Garden City tomorrow.

It has been a summer of change at Wantage, with Matt Biddle and Tom Austin taking over as joint managers of the Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division champions.

They have brought in 11 players and, while they accept avoiding relegation is the main goal, they are allowing themselves to aim higher.

They were boosted with a 2-1 win in their Emirates FA Cup extra preliminary round replay at Brackley Town Saints on Wednesday night.

Biddle said: “A lot of new players have joined and blended in well and a lot of youngsters have gained experience and confidence.

“Right now, naturally from any team that has just been promoted, the goal is to stay up.

“From what I’ve seen there’s nothing to say we can’t push on and find ourselves mid-table.”

Among the new recruits is Tom Stanley, who has been regularly finding the net for Saxton Rovers in the North Berks League.

Biddle is confident the striker can adapt to a higher level of football.

He said: “Tom wanted to make the step up.

“He’s been scoring in pre-season, so we’re looking forward to seeing him in the competitive games.”

Players in: Mark Burton, Shemar Pettet, Jozef Fullerton, Jack Buchanan, James McCarthy, Charlie McCready, Musa Drammeh, Ryan Jackson, Cavan Smith, Ryan Elliott, Tom Stanley.

Players out: Steve Robertson, Curtis Meare, Mark Flanagan.

Kidlington endured a shocking start to last season, but also avoided relegation on the final day.

Boss Julian McCalmon believes his new-look team are better equipped to have a much more successful campaign, which starts at home to Daventry Town tomorrow.

He has signed talented forward Leam Howards from Redditch United, which is his biggest capture of the close season.

Howards had a successful spell at Banbury United before moving to Redditch last year.

Also coming in are Bradley Singh and Kyreece Martei from North Leigh and Kaylem Patterson from Wantage.

“We’re confident we will do much better,” he said. “We’ve brought in a lot of new faces and changed the philosophy around the club.

“Our style of football last year wasn’t attractive on the eye, but it was needs must – we were battling to avoid relegation. I think this year will see us entertain.”

Goalkeeper Sam Warrell, who suffered a broken leg at Cambridge City towards the end of last season, has taken the decision to retire.

McCalmon said: “It was a tough decision for Sam, but he has a young family and is self-employed, and the injury was a real setback for him.

“I think he was given the all-clear to start playing again, but when you work for yourself, it’s a big risk playing at this level. He was magnificent for us, and I wish him all the best.”

Players in: Leam Howards (Redditch Utd), Bradley Singh (unattached), Kyreece Martei (North Leigh), Kaylem Patterson (Wantage), Chris Lawrence (Ardley Utd), Dan West (Ardley Utd), Siyand Gill (unattached).

Players out: Liam Talboys (Didcot Tn), Sam Warrell (retired), Darius Browne (Banbury Utd).

Thame United put in a brave bid for the play-offs last season, only dipping out of the reckoning in the final run-in.

Boss Mark West commences his 13th season at the helm at the ASM Stadium, and is hoping to continue their improvement.

West has signed talented North Leigh winger Noah Alabi – a pacey wide man who can play on either flank.

He’s also snapped up Greg Hackett from Didcot to bolster his scoring options, although Thame will have to start the season without striker Lynton Goss, who suffered a hip injury in the pre-season game with Oxford City.

West is hopeful of an improvement on last year hopes for a bid for the play-offs.

“If we can score five or six more goals and let in five or six fewer than last year, we will be challenging for sure,” he said.

“It will be a tough ask. This league is tough, and the big challenge is keeping fit, because we don’t have a huge squad or a big budget.

“If we pick up injuries, we can’t all of a sudden go out and bring new players in.”

Thame begin with a trip to Bedford Town tomorrow, another side who are expected to be in the run-in for the play-offs.

West added: “This league will be every bit as tough as last year. I’d like to think we could be in the ten or so teams fighting for the play-offs.”

Players out: Aaron Jewell (Knaphill), Liam Tack (Hanwell).

Players in: Noah Alabi (North Leigh), Greg Hackett (Didcot Tn), Callum Mapley (Aylesbury Utd), Connor Harris (Ardley Utd), Nathan Simms (unattached).

Banbury United will bid for a first win in the Premier Division when they host Royston Town.

Mike Ford’s side have opened their campaign with two draws.