Dean Ashton's ultimate ambition for the 2008/9 season is simple - "get plenty of goals".
Having finished the last campaign on a high with five goals in his last eight games before making his England debut and then signing a new long-term contract at the Boleyn Ground, Ashton knows exactly what he wants to achieve next time around. "In terms of the new season my main aim is to stay fit, play more games than I did last season and get plenty of goals," he said. "For the team it is mainly to have an injury-free season so we can show just how good this squad is."
The strength of that squad is evident by taking a look at the Chadwell Heath training pitches and his team-mates hard at work focusing on the steady stream of Barclays Premier League fixtures that will follow from 16 August. However, Ashton is not bothered about which defences he will come up against in the opening games. "To be honest I stopped looking at the fixtures after the season I broke my ankle. That year I looked at it and picked out all the games I was particularly looking forward to then I got injured so just feel like it is bad luck to do that again."
Ashton may not have paid too much attention to the fact it is Wigan Athletic who get things started but it was against that opposition on 2 February that he last played alongside Craig Bellamy. The duo, who up to now have only been on the pitch together for 127 minutes in four league and cup games, offer plenty of attacking threat along with Carlton Cole, Bobby Zamora and Freddie Sears. "I don't know who we are playing past the first few games," Ashton added. "But I do know we are at home for the first game which gives us a great opportunity to get off to a flying start."