BRIDPORT manager Adam Fricker believes a more settled squad has benefitted the Bees ahead of their Toolstation Western League Premier Division opener at Cadbury Heath on Saturday (3pm).

A year ago, the St Mary’s Field chief was almost building a side from scratch having replaced Trevor Senior in the hot seat.

After securing a 16th-placed finish in the 2016-17 season, Fricker, who has added Paul Thorpe to his coaching staff for the upcoming campaign, is determined to improve.

“We feel a lot further down the line this year than we were last year,” he said ahead of the new campaign.

“A lot of last season was about looking at lads’ abilities and understanding what they were all about.

“This season we have already got that and we have been able to add two or three players into an already existing squad.

“I think pre-season this year has been more focused on having a smaller squad and giving the 15 or 16 we have valuable minutes, whereas last season we were looking at 19 or 20 players to see what everyone could do.

“It’s been a lot more settled and focused this year.”

And going into the game away to Cadbury Heath, Fricker is expecting a “tough game” after playing two FA Cup ties in five days.

“We know it will be a tough game. It would have been nice to start at home but it does give us a little bit more fitness that we can take into Saturday’s game and hopefully hit the ground running with the league season as well,” he said.