HOLLAND FC manager Paul Phelan says his players have "exceeded expectations" during pre-season.

The Eastcliff side have been in free-scoring form and continued their preparations for the new Thurlow Nunn League campaign with a thumping 5-1 victory against Tiptree Heath on Saturday.

Jimmy Webb and Matthew Gray both scored twice, with Steve Eaton also on target at the W&S Scaffolding Community Stadium.

Holland were due to host Alresford Colne Rangers last night in their final warm-up game before all eyes switch to Saturday's division one south curtain-raiser at home to last season's runners-up, Coggeshall United.

They then head to Tendring neighbours Harwich and Parkeston on Tuesday.

“I couldn’t ask for more from the players so far,” said Phelan, who has taken over the managerial reins from Rob Batten.

“They’ve taken to my way of coaching and proved they’re capable of taking instructions on board, which is easier said than done.

“There’s strong competition for places and, so far, we’ve exceeded expectations.

“I’ve given the players responsibility and they’ve taken it on board.

“They appear to be buying into what we’re trying to do.”

Holland also have matches against Wormley Rovers, Benfleet and Fire United in a busy first month of the season, before hosting Baldock Town in the first qualifying round of the FA Vase on Saturday, August 31.