Vanarama National League South
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Our new signing James Dodd spoke to Rob Hammett about his loan spell with Weston last season, his time at Exeter City and his hopes and aspirations for the season ahead. 

Hi James; firstly, how do you feel about joining Weston on a permanent deal?

I’m really pleased. I spoke to the manager about potentially signing after I knew I would be leaving Exeter. I wanted to come on loan here last season and I realised I wanted to come back to Weston this summer. 

How would you sum up your performances for Weston last season?

I thought I did well in my first full season as a player and did everything the manager asked me to do. He put his faith in me to show off my abilities and played me a lot, so I think that shows I did well, I guess.

What was your favourite game from last season?

Hayes & Yeading away in the league. We were 1-0 down at half-time but won 2-1. We played really well in the second half and scored in the last minute. Late winners are always games you remember.

What do you make of the standard of the Southern League?

I’m impressed by the standard, to be honest. I think it’s very good. It’s hard to win games because so many teams play in so many different ways. Every team is a difficult opponent and it’s hard to win a lot of games.

What are your targets for the upcoming season?

Even though we did well to finish in the play-offs, as a group and a team we thought we should have finished higher than we did last season. We want to finish as high as possible but we’re aiming to win the league. We’ve got a great squad and if we have a better start I think we can push for the title. For me personally, I want to get forward more and score more goals, like I did against Truro. 

Best player you’ve played with/against?

With would be Ethan Ampadu, he was one of my best mates growing up in the Exeter academy until the age of about 16. Against would be Callum Hudson-Odoi against Chelsea in the Checkatrade Trophy. 

Who are your best mates at Weston?

I travel up with the Exeter lads (Bastin, Caney, Popey and Alfie) so they’re close to me but I get on well with everyone. 

Who has had the biggest influence on your career?

Dan Green, an academy coach at Exeter. He’s been with me for the last four or five years and helped me develop. He has been like a mentor and helped me deal with things off the pitch.

You’ll be playing against Exeter on July 5th, how strange do you think that will be?!

It will be strange playing against my old team and trying to prove my point. It’s very important to me as it’s the first game of pre-season and I want to treat it as a game to build up my fitness and hit the ground running. 

Tell us something the fans might not know about you… 

I’m ambidextrous, which means I can play a lot of different sports with my right hand and left hand!

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