NEWS Thursday 27th January 2022, 8:00am
First up in the Armadale Devils side for 2022 is the return of ever popular heat leader Danny Phillips!
Phillips was a key cog in the 2021 Devils septet and is looking forward to a big year ahead after a blistering end to his debut season for the West Lothian outfit, the 25 year old Middlesbrough born racer said, "I'm definitely glad to be back, I had a bit of a difficult start to the year last year as Armadale probably wasn't my favourite track before that.
"But from midseason or so on last year, we had a bit of a gap then when we came back I really enjoyed it. When I got the phone call it was a straightforward decision to return."
Phillips probably did not want the season to end in 2021 when you look at the scalps taken in the last few Armadale meetings including noted Championship performers such as Dan Thompson, Joe Thompson, Jordan Jenkins and Jason Edwards amongst others.
With that confidence and an injury free run into the new season, Danny believes this can be the springboard to push on yet again, "After those meetings against Leicester and Mildenhall last year and beating those guys that really gives you the confidence you can do it.
"My plan this year is to cement myself as one of the top men in the league, obviously you always want to increase your average year on year. I don't know where I will start in the team whether it will be at number 1 or what.
"My aim if I am number 1 would be to maintain that, and if not would be to get there as the season goes on."
While further team announcements will follow, the expectation would be that continuity in the Devils line-up from last year will be the aim and if that is the case Phillips is looking forward to working with the team who performed above many expectations in 2021, "Everyone had doubts about how many points we would score or winning any meetings last year.
"So we proved them wrong. Another year with a similar group of lads would be great as we all got on well so it would be great to get together again, and I think we will kick on and do even better than last year."
With Plymouth and Oxford now in the fray for the National League, a busier and more varied schedule looks in store and this is something that the former Newcastle man is happy about albeit a change in attitude means that he hasn't really looked into oppositions squads to see what he will be up against, "Obviously last year we could only do what we could do but as any meetings as possible is ideal for me, the more you ride the better you do so hopefully we'll see a busier calendar.
"I just tend to show up and look to beat who is at the tapes with me. I used to look at other teams and say I need to beat him or him and put more pressure on myself and it worked against me so now I just focus on myself. I know when I get to that line I can beat anyone."
The Devils will certainly be hoping that is the case as Phillips will be a key man as they look to best the 5th place league finish of 2021.