I write my first manager’s corner of 2014 due to a longer than anticipated break caused by a mixture of poor weather and an error in fixtures. This break did not do us any favours on our return to competitive action as we lost our Marshall Cup game away to Hanover on penalties. We looked rusty and didn’t really get to grips with the game until we fell behind after two defensive errors. It was a game that we still could have won but once it went to penalties it became a lottery. Since then we have worked on those errors in training and have kept two consecutive clean sheets. Both of those games have been comprehensive 5-0 victories in terrible playing conditions. The adverse weather in those games did not prevent us playing some of our best football this season and gives us confidence moving into the second half of the season.
We also realise that nothing is won at this stage of the season and all we have done to date is given ourselves a good chance. There is far too much experience within the coaching staff to allow complacency to set in and we will ensure that until our goals are achieved there will be no let up in expectations. The players know that no one is guaranteed their place and they will have to keep a high level of performance to keep the jersey. The recent signings of Paddy Mooney and Andy McLarty, along with the return to the squad of Sean Hand and John Smyth, have added extra quality in attacking positions. Both Paddy and Andy scored on their debuts and has this has helped them settle. There are now 13 league games left and we will be treating every opponent with the same amount of respect as we know they will be out to stop us achieving our goal. Our fitness and quality is not a concern at this stage so we need to make sure we are mentally prepared for the challenge. Whilst it won’t be easy we will ensure that we are going to be hard to beat.
I would like to congratulate 16 year old local lad Lee Courtney on making his senior debut against Hanover in the cup. Lee had started the season playing for the u17s and has been playing well for the reserves in recent games. He has been training with the senior squad along with 4 other u17 players which shows that young lads will get an opportunity at the club and also bodes well for the future. Without the good work of the u17 coaching staff, Desy Murphy and Thomas King this progression would not have happened so they deserve great credit.
A final word must got to our fans who have continued to support us in great numbers in the wind and rain. Hopefully we will continue to give them the victories their support deserves.
Yours in Sport.