Brightlingsea Regent defender Zack Littlejohn believes his side have made a good start to their Isthmian North Division campaign.
Brett Munyard’s side sit in sixth place and are sitting just outside of the play-off places on goal difference following relegation from the Isthmian Premier Division last term.
Littlejohn summarises the opening months of the season.
“I think we’ve had a good start to the season, we have picked up some good results and had some great performances,” he said.
“I think we can be content that we are currently in sixth place, however, more recently we have had a little downturn in results.
“Although there is a long way to go in the season, it is key we reset and think positively for each upcoming game we have.”
The ex-Canvey Island man arrived at North Road for his first spell in November 2021 where he netted eight goals last season from centre-back. He joined Concord Rangers in the summer and following a brief spell with the Beach Boys, he returned to the Essex coast.
Littlejohn explains his decisioning in returning to Brightlingsea.
“I’d say there were two factors which made me want to return to Brightlingsea,” he stated.
“Firstly, after speaking with the management at Brightlingsea, it was clear that over the summer a strong squad was built, full of experienced players and good characters.
“Then also playing there for the previous two seasons, I knew how great the fans were and this was a huge contributor in me rejoining.”
The R’s had good cup runs in both the Emirates FA Cup and Isuzu FA Trophy before exiting to teams from higher divisions.
The former saw them bow out to Billericay Town following a 3-1 defeat in the Second Qualifying Round and in the latter, they lost 2-0 to Horsham in the Third Qualifying Round.
Littlejohn thinks it is a good experience to play teams where they are considered to be the underdogs.
“I definitely enjoy playing against higher competition,” he admitted.
“It enables us to test ourselves against sides who we ultimately would like to be playing against next season.
“We can definitely see the difference in standard playing against Isthmian Premier Division sides, they move the ball very well and this allows us to work on our defensive shape and organisation.
“Hopefully these games will benefit us as we return to league games, giving us confidence that we can give step three teams a good game so should hopefully be successful against step four sides.”
Despite a disappointing run of late which has seen the R’s only pick up one win in their last five, they are still in promotion contention at this early point in the season.
A key game in that run was a 5-3 defeat to fellow promotion hopefuls Felixstowe & Walton United as the R’s lost ground on a team in-and-around the upper echelons of the table.
Even though he didn’t feature in the game, Littlejohn believes the finer details were a factor in the loss.
“From speaking to the boys, it sounded like a crazy game from it being 3-3 with around five minutes to go, to eventually losing 5-3,” he said.
“Potentially with some better game management, we would have come away with a point.
“However, it’s important we learn from these games and make sure we don’t make the same mistakes again.”
Littlejohn additionally looks at his personal ambitions for the remainder of the season.
“I want to win as many games as possible,” he stated.
“It is still very early in the season to be setting concrete targets and it is best to focus on each game as it comes.
“We are confident in our ability as a group and it is important we continue to collectively work hard and pick up results on a weekly basis.”